The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has called on state governors of the North Western Nigeria to take advantage of huge minerals endowment scattered across the zone for the benefits of their economy and citizens.
The acting chairman of the NEITI Board, Alhaji (Dr.) Mahmoud Isa Dutse made the call during the North West Zonal Outreach and Stakeholders Workshop recently held in Kano.
“I wish to call on the state governments, particularly in the North West zone to creatively explore abundant opportunities in the mining sector for the benefit of your economy and citizens”, Alhaji Isa Dutse stated.
The acting chairman, who spoke through a member of the Board, Otunba Gbenga Onayiga disclosed that based on data available to NEITI, the investment potentials in the mining sector are bigger than oil and gas sector if given the attention it deserves.
While noting that a lot has been achieved since the agency was established, the acting chairman identified sub-national engagements as one area that requires urgent improvement.
“In 15 years of EITI in Nigeria, the roles of state and non-state actors at the sub-national level have remained under-exploited. As a board, we believe this need to be fixed”, he stated,
“This is why this outreach is very important to NEITI as it affords us the opportunity to broaden our stakeholders’ base and build synergy with critical stakeholders in the North West zone”, he stated further.
In his remarks, NEITI executive secretary, Waziri Adio reiterated the need to fully maximize the opportunities that natural resources provide, noting that the real value in natural resources is in value-addition.
“We must fully maximize the opportunity that the resources provide; the real value in natural resources is the added value. If we don’t add value to the resources we cannot make money and we cannot have enough money to take care of our people”, Adio stated.
NEITI’s executive secretary advocated for a robust macro-economic management, massive investment in social infrastructure and human capital, among others, to enable the country maximize its natural resources endowment and compete favorably in the global economic space.
His words: “we need to make sure that the revenues obtained from our natural resources are used to jumpstart our economy by investing in infrastructure, roads rails, electricity this are things that will increase the productive capacity of our people”.
“We also need to invest in the capacity of our people, we need to invest in their education and we need to invest in their health, countries developed because of their investment in their people. It is not the resources that create wealth for the country; it is the people that create wealth for the country”, Adio concluded.
In her welcome remarks, Barrister Hannatu Musawa, who represented the Northwest Zone on the NEITI Board, underscored the need for partnership between the agency and sub-national governments.
“Government and people of the North West zone have enormous lessons to learn if they are adequately enlightened and exposed to the principles of EITI in natural resource and public finance management”, she noted.
Barrister Musawa informed participants that since her appointment as representative of the zone on the Board of NEITI, one of her targets has been how to connect the wonderful work of the agency to programs of the state governments in the zone.
She called on state governors in the zone to set up a special team that will interface with NEITI with a view to integrating recommendations of its reports into their various reform initiatives.
In his keynote address, Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje commended NEITI for its courage and competence in leading the war against opaqueness and corruption in the Nigerian oil, gas and mining sectors, noting that the agency stands-out among all Federal agencies in the country.
“From our knowledge of its operations in this part of the country, NEITI is one of the few Federal government agencies that have stood-out with courage and competence in leading the war against opaqueness and corruption especially in the oil, gas and mining sectors”
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna identified with NEITI’s lofty objectives of transparency and accountability in management of public resources. He expressed the willingness of Kano state government to partner with the agency to deepen EITI implementation in Nigeria.
“Let me state that Kano state government identifies strongly with the lofty mandate, objectives and principles of NEITI. In this direction, the state government under my leadership is willing and ready to provide all necessary support to deepen EITI implementation in Nigeria”, He stated.
The North West Zonal Outreach and Stakeholders Workshop, a two day event was attended by over 200 participants, drawn across the seven states in the zone, among officials of state government, extractive companies, media organizations, civil society organizations and community based organizations. Others are opinion leaders, traditional rulers, students’ bodies, professional associations, local government officials, and town union executives.