NEITI, BudgIT, Partners Launch Tool To Connect PEPs To Extractives Assets

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executive secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji and other stakeholders during the launch of Joining the Dots platform in Abuja on Wednesday

Juliet Ukanwosu

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in collaboration with Directorio Legislativo, BudgIT Foundation and Transparency in Totality has developed a tool, Joining the Dots, to enhance transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining sectors in Nigeria.

Joining the Dots, is a platform that cross matches the data on Beneficial Ownership (BO) and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) against oil, gas and mining licenses in other to detect the existence of conflicts of interest.

Extractive360 recalls that NEITI piloted BO reporting in 2013 and launched a BO register for the extractive sector in 2019 as a tool to curb corruption, illicit financial flows and terrorism financing. Globally, over 100 countries have made commitments to implement BO reforms.

Speaking in Abuja during the launch of Joining the Dots, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, explained that the tool is aimed at achieving two strategic goals which is; to support the establishment of frameworks that will facilitate transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s extractive sector and contribute to the unfettered public access to data on politically exposed persons (PEPs) in Nigeria.

“The challenges and risks of anonymous beneficial owners of extractives assets in resource rich countries results in monumental corruption, tax evasion and diversion of a country’s wealth into the pockets of a few privileged individuals,” Orji said. He added that Joining the Dots with Politically Exposed Persons is created to cross-reference the various data sources on PEPs and the beneficial ownership registers and identify red flags in the licenses award processes in Nigeria’s oil, gas and mining sectors.

“What Joining the Dots is offering to NEITI’s Beneficial Ownership program is strengthening our capacity to guarantee data accuracy, data efficiency, availability and easy access to assist relevant competent authorities and the private sector, including financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions (DNFBPs) in their efforts to combat money laundering and associated predicate offenses,” Dr. Orji stated.

Also speaking at the event, Juan Krahl, of the Directorio Legislativo, an Argentina based Civil Society Organisatgion and a partner to the project, said the launch of the tool was the result of a tough year’s work.

He explained that his organization started Joining the Dots in Columbia in 2019, and in Nigeria in 2021. He said the objective is to foster access to information and combat corruption in order to strengthen democratic systems.

For her part, Favour Ime, Regional Manager with Open Ownership, while urging the public to engage and use the tool, said the effort and hard work put in would be useless if the public does not engage it.

“The tool will help us understand who is behind natural resource companies in Nigeria and where corrupt practices are. It will help to promote credible linked-up information and data on PEPs to help Nigeria fight against illicit financial flows, terrorism financing and money laundering, while ensuring that revenue from oil, gas and mining are used to better the lives of Nigerians,” Ime said.

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