The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has renewed its appeal to the media to support its commitment to end corruption, impunity and mismanagement of the country’s oil, gas and mining revenues.
The Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio made the appeal in Lagos while on a working visit to some media organisations.
During meetings with the Boards of Editors of the respective organisations, Mr Adio explained that the mandate of NEITI in the extractive industry is consistent with the role of the media as watch dogs of the society and called for greater partnership and collaboration.
He underlined the role of the media in the areas of public education, enlightenment and social mobilization and identified dissemination of NEITI industry audit reports as one major area where the support of the media is indispensable.
“NEITI exists to ameliorate and reduce the resource curse syndrome in Nigeria. The EITI approach to reversing the resource curse dwells on management of natural resources for the benefit of the people through the use of transparency and accountability tools. We need the media to help use the information and data disclosed by NEITI to shape public debate required to sensitize the citizens to ask informed questions on the management of natural resource revenues. We also need to empower the citizens and other accountability actors to appreciate their roles and the press to help set this agenda The end goal is that abundant resources should transform to better living standards for the people” Adio added.
The Executive Secretary explained that except and until NEITI Reports lead to reforms of the extractive sector, sanction infractions and bring about improved quality of life for the citizens, the job of NEITI is far from done. According to him “As leaders we should model the values we preach and walk the talk. There must be consequences for bad behavior and this can be re-in enforced by the Media.”
The Media tour took the Executive Secretary to Thisday Newspapers, Business Day, Vanguard, the Sun, Punch, the Guardian and the Nation Newspapers. It provided the opportunity for NEITI and the Media Executives to explore areas of mutual cooperation.
Boards of Editors of the organisations visited resolved to back NEITI in ensuring that revenues from the extractive industry support national development and reduce poverty.
They however advised NEITI to take deliberate steps to build the capacity of the media and the civil society to enhance their ability to use its reports more effectively. They also suggested the need for NEITI to work with relevant agencies to enforce sanctions arising from violations of the NEITI Act.
The next phase of the tour by the Executive Secretary is expected to cover more media establishments.