By Juliet Ukanwosu
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the newly inaugurated Board of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to articulate strategies towards making Nigeria a preferred investment destination in Sub-saharan Africa.
Extractive 360 learnt that the President who gave the charge in Uyo at the opening of the ongoing retreat for the new Board members described as unacceptable a situation where only $3 billion came to Nigeria out of the recent $75 billion investment in the extractive industry that flew into sub-Saharan Africa.
“The Board of NEITI must articulate a new approach and seek productive collaborations where necessary, to make Nigeria investment destination and dramatically increase the quantum of investments to the country,” the President stated.
Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha advised the Board to build on the efficiency, excellence and high reputation with which NEITI has led on-going reforms in the oil gas and mining sector.
He emphasized that NEITI’s work strongly aligns with the vision of the administration to provide a robust governance framework in the oil, gas and mining industry. “The policy measure is to guarantee professionalism, transparency, accountability, good returns on investment and improved revenue,” he said.
He further urged the Board to provide the required leadership and strategic direction for NEITI to channel similar attention it has shown in the oil and gas industry to the solid minerals sector to galvanize reforms in the solid minerals sector.
According to a statement by Mrs. Obiageli Onuorah, NEITI’s Head, Communications and Advocacy, the president also used the opportunity to reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to use the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to implement reforms and revenue growth, while charging the Board to note that their appointment is part-time and as such avoid acts capable of disrupting the day to day management of the agency.
The retreat, according to the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, was designed to expose members of the Board to the methods, principles and benefits of EITI in Nigeria. He added that it was also put together to build the capacity of the Board to take up their leadership role with knowledge and competence.
The Head of the International Secretariat of the EITI, Dr Mark Robinson in a message from the headquarters in Oslo, Norway, assured of the EITI’s willingness to offer technical assistance to the new Board to perform its functions.
Chairman of the Board, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle pledged the commitment of the team to push the boundaries of EITI implementation in Nigeria to achieve impactful results.
Other members of the 15-man board include the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Peter Egbule who represents the civil society organizations, a representative of the International Oil Companies (IOCs), Presidents of Nigeria Mining & Geosciences Society (NMGS) and the President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
The board is also made up of six zonal representatives who are; Dr. Bashir Bature Gafai representing the North-West, Dr. Iliya Gashinbaki, North-East, Dr. Godwin Akor Ogwuche, North-Central, Mr. Nze Joe Ibeh, South East while the South South and South-West are represented by Awowo Christian and Professor Damilola Olawuyi respectively.