Opening speech by Juliet Alohan, Editor, extractive360, on the occasion of the official launch of extractive360.com held on March 28th, 2019, at Rockview Hotel Royale, Wuse 2, Abuja
It is with a deep sense of appreciation that I welcome you all to this event to officially launch our product, www.extractive360.com.
Although the site was established in November 2017, and has run uninterruptedly since then, we thought it necessary to convey a stakeholders forum to formally introduce and present the site for the wider use and participation of the industry.
Extractive360.com is a web-based publication, a specialised news site which provides factual, reliable and up-to-date reports on issues within Nigeria’s extractive industries as well as related development across the world’s extractive industries and markets. It is duly registered under the Nigerian extant laws.
Our objective is to help deepen the implementation of the transparency and accountability principles of the EITI and related frameworks being championed by other global extractive industries actors such as the Natural Resource Charter, in Nigeria, to amongst others, shape conversations that could transform the way Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors are managed.
At Extractive 360, our vision is to help achieve a sustainable society through prudent management of Nigeria’s extractive resources, with a mission to ensure prudency in the utilisation of extractive resources through sustained information and advocacy.
We believe that as a sector, best described as the life wire of Nigeria’s existence, contributing 95 per cent to its annual foreign exchange earnings and about 80 per cent of the country’s budgetary revenue, the citizens have a right to absolute information about its operations. Thus, the need to equip Nigerians with credible information they could use to always contribute to conversations that shape government policies and programmes, cannot be overemphasised.
Extractive360.com was conceived and set up for Nigerians to consistently gain good knowledge and information about the everyday workings of the country’s extractive industries, against the background of sector’s dynamism and technicality which we believe simplified journalistic reports and analysis can help everyone better understand and be able to participate in conversations relating to the sector.
Since the establishment of the site, we have consistently ensured credibility and objectivity of our reports. We tell the stories in ways that the everyday citizen can understand and relate to, sometimes using infographics and pictures to drive the message home.
We are however, not unaware of the menace of fake news, which is today unfortunately, a serious challenge facing web-based publications, as the activities of some tend to shape perceptions about digital publications. But we have stayed away from such acts of unprofessionalism, and shall continue to maintain the ethos of our coming into being.
I must also not fail to give credit to some web-based publications such as Premium Times and The Cable. They have raised the bar of journalism high and reinforced the fact that not all web-based publications are in the business of peddling fake news. They have been doing excellent jobs.
However, our platform is unique in the sense that it is industry specific, and visitors don’t have to filter through different categories of news like sports, politics and entertainment to get to extractive related reports. We have over the last one year recorded about 117, 293 unique visitors to the site, and with the hundreds of feedbacks from them, we are assured that we are doing the right things and pushing the frontiers of credible reporting further.
The essence of this launch as I mentioned earlier, is to formally introduce the Platform to key industry stakeholders for their use and participation, and to also allay fears and scepticism about online news sites. I can assure you that extractive 360 is a distinct and credible platform. Indeed, the calibre of our partners today is a testament to that effect. And with the array of personalities who make up our Advisory Board, I can assure you that the integrity and objectivity of extractive360 will never be wanting.
Our commitment to our founding philosophy will not waver because we are convinced that except Nigerians get full understanding of the operations of the country’s extractive sector, vis-à-vis where we are and where we ought to be, and how it works either to our benefits or not, they will not be in a position to ask the right questions or push for needed reforms.
Some of you may be wondering how this idea came about, well, this wasn’t stumbled into. As a graduate of mass communication and having practised journalism for over a decade, with about 85% of that time spent consistently covering the extractive sector, my passion to see a Nigeria with a reformed oil, gas and mining industries that works both for the present and future generations could not be contained.
I also happen to be a member of the Media Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI), which is a national network of extractive industries journalists collaborating to produce and disseminate in-depth media reports of developments in Nigeria’s extractive industries. I have severally travelled to different parts of the world in the course of my work, engaging with like-minded journalists and captains of industry from different climes, participated in many high level conferences and roundtable dialogues; and one is clear, our extractive resources hasn’t worked optimally for Nigerians and we must act fast to change the narrative.
It is against this background that extractive 360 was initiated and set up as a medium through which stakeholders can contribute their quota in amplifying the need for transformation across the value chain of the Nigerian oil, gas and solid minerals industries. Although I initiated it, I am not alone on this project. The idea was shared with like-minds and experts, with whom, it was enriched, developed and eventually established.
In the course of our brainstorming, we observed that conversations, presentations and critical reports on developments in the nation’s extractive sector which are needed to enrich the knowledge base of Nigerians are distributed across various institution’s websites, thereby making it a challenge for Nigerians and indeed foreigners with interest in the country’s extractive sector to easily access the information.
On this note, we intend to, through this launch, position our platform to harvest and warehouse all such information for a quick and easy one-stop-shop access.
Haven done this much, we today present this unique product to the industry to own it; by using it, patronising it and most importantly contributing objective value-adding sector related content. We are also open to partnerships and welcome constructive feedbacks to further improve the quality of the platform. Feel free to contact us through our various channels or you may contact me directly.
Once again, I thank you all for coming.