The implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Nigeria is a veritable tool for managing conflicts and insecurity in extractive communities, says Mr Waziri Adio, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Initiative (NEITI).
He said this in Abuja while delivering a speech during the Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference held recently.
‘‘One of the tools for managing conflicts, crisis and insecurity in the extractive sector is the EITI ” Adio said. “When you do things in the open, the possibility of conflicts or disagreements is minimized,” he added.
The Conference, themed: “Managing Conflicts and Insecurity in the Extractive Industries” was organized by CSR-in-Action in partnership with NEITI. It examined the challenges of conflicts and insecurity in the extractive industries and how these can be managed.
According to Mr. Adio, the over dependence on natural resources predisposes a society to conflicts to the extent that resource extraction and conflicts now seem intertwined and mutually occurring.
The EITI he said, is a multi-stakeholders arrangement where companies, civil societies, and government work together to solve common problems and take conflicts and crisis out of resources governance.
“EITI is about putting searchlight on companies’ payments and government receipts, and also monitoring to ensure that the resources are used in a way that is prudent, accountable and promote development”, he explained.
He described rent-seeking behaviours, uneven distribution of resources among stakeholders and low accountability, which are features of resources-rich countries as part of the factors responsible for conflicts and insecurity in the extractive industries.
“When countries depend on natural resources, the tendency is that the government will not be accountable to their people since their people also are not paying tax, natural resources are very easy to be captured”, Adio said.
He however, challenged citizens to monitor the utilization of extractive industries revenues by the three tiers of government and ensure that the revenues are utilized judiciously.
“We need to follow the money, “It is not enough to know what has gone into the different tiers of government, It is also important to know what they have done with the money”.
For instance he said, NEITI’s analysis of the disbursements from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the first quarter of 2018, showed that while all the 36 states received N683 billion for the three months, the Niger Delta states, the six states in the South-South received N206 billion, which is about 30percent of the entire money that went to the 36 states.
Mr. Adio urged state governments to localize the EITI by putting in place a mechanism to know what is going on in government and what is being done with public resources.