By Stephanie Odiase
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has harped on the need for strategic and collaborative efforts by relevant stakeholders in order for Nigeria to benefit maximally from transition minerals.
This position is part of the recommendations contained in its 2021 Solid Minerals Industries Audit Report recently released in Abuja.
On emerging issues, the report urged the federal government to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the Energy Transition Plan (ETP) is consciously implemented with the energy transition minerals such as Cobalt, Lithium, Nickel, Copper, Graphite and Titanium beneficiated to increase revenue to government coffers and create employment opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming youths.
The NEITI report also underscored the need to shift attention from oil to the development of the solid minerals sector in the face of dwindling oil revenue, noting that there have been significant reforms and development in the sector.
The report listed some of the significant reforms and development in the sector to include the deployment of technology and innovation especially the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) Electronic Mining Cadastre System (eMC+), a title administration and management system to ease mineral title administration; the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) technology for Geo-referencing and Geo-coding of Topographic Maps of Nigeria for integration into the Mining Cadastre Digital Database and the NGSA Z-300 LIBS Analyzer of mineral samples and exploration activities among other laudable initiatives.
Speaking during the report launch, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, however, explained that the EITI Standard which guides implementation in Nigeria requires a Multi Stakeholders Group (MSG) to provide strategic policy direction and leadership, adding that the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) was unfortunately among the Boards of MDAs dissolved in Nigeria on June 19, 2023.
While appealing for the NSWG to be put in place, Dr. Orji said “The NSWG is a mandatory requirement for any country’s membership of the 57-member international organisation. NEITI hereby renews its appeal to the government to put the NSWG in place, in other to fix the gap in the its operations due to the peculiar nature of the agency.”
The NEITI boss further used the opportunity to appeal to State and non-state actors to take seriously the contents of the reports and play their expected roles in the EITI/NEITI process.
“The civil society and media play very important roles in the EITI process, particularly, in the areas of dissemination, campaigns and advocacy on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report and support the translation of the contents of the NEITI reports to visible impacts in the lives of all Nigerians.
“When information and data on revenue from extractive sectors are publicly available and accessible, the citizens, civil society groups and media have the responsibility to ask questions about the management of Nigeria’s natural resources to address the country’s socio-economic problems and poverty reduction,” Dr. Orji stated.