The Nigeria Extractive Industries transparency Initiative (NEITI) has urged gender based CSOs and women in the Niger Delta to be active participants in the campaign for beneficial ownership disclosure in the extractive sector.
The Assistant Director Communications & Advocacy NEITI, Obiageli Onourah who represented the Executive Secretary made this call at a 2-day training workshop on Beneficial Ownership disclosure organized for women CSOs in the Niger Delta, held in Port Harcourt, River State.
Mrs Onuorah stated that the current threat to global security is traceable to illicit wealth hidden by companies whose ownership identities are shrouded in secrecy and used to fund clandestine activities.
‘’Some of the benefits of extractive companies ownership disclosure includes increase in government revenue, which consequently improves citizen’s welfare, and provision of social infrastructures. It will also improve trust and good corporate behaviour among governments, companies, host communities, civil society etc.’’, she stated.
She explained that the EITI has mandated Nigeria and the 52 implementing countries to open a register of real owners of operating companies in the oil, gas and solid minerals sector.
Her presentation took participants through Beneficial Ownership Disclosure concepts, background and benefits to women especially in the oil producing areas.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Kebekatche Women Development and Resource Centre, Ms Emem Okon stated that the objective of the programme was to build the capacity of women in the Niger Delta on use of advocacy tools and strategies to engage operators of extractive companies on beneficial ownership disclosures.
Ms Okon emphasized that women are usually left out in the decision making process and not carried along when it comes to benefits sharing of extractive revenues in their communities whereas they bear the consequence of poor planning and environmental hazards resulting from exploration activities.
She further noted that women in the region lack basic information about the extractive sector and are therefore unable to take action on issues pertaining to their existence.
She therefore challenged the participants at the workshop on the need to cascade information to other women at the grassroots in their various communities.
Chairman of the Civil Society Steering Committee on the NEITI Board, Mr Kolawole Banwo assured of the support of the Board towards programmes that seek to address and empower women in the management of extractive resources.
He encouraged them to step up campaigns and demand for inclusiveness at various stages of decision making in their communities.
Other areas discussed at the programme were; responsibilities of various stakeholders in ensuring compliance with the EITI standard, meeting deadline for opening register of beneficial owners in the extractive sector, and role of women in the implementation of beneficial ownership disclosure.