Report On The First Forum Of The Anti-Corruption Situation Room Held On Thursday 22nd March 2018 At The Rockview Hotel Royale Abuja

Report On The First Forum Of The Anti-Corruption Situation Room Held On Thursday 22nd March 2018 At The Rockview Hotel Royale Abuja

The Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR), a first of its kind, is a situation analysis platform for high level engagements and collaboration between anti-corruption stakeholders. The initiative was launched in Abuja on Dec 19, 2017 to create a platform for government representatives in the criminal justice and anti-corruption enforcement to engage CSOs, Media, Labour Movement, and Citizens on anti-corruption and administration of criminal justice policies and programmes of the government.

The Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR), a first of its kind, is a situation analysis platform for high level engagements and collaboration between anti-corruption stakeholders. The initiative was launched in Abuja on Dec 19, 2017 to create a platform for government representatives in the criminal justice and anti-corruption enforcement to engage CSOs, Media, Labour Movement, and Citizens on anti-corruption and administration of criminal justice policies and programmes of the government. HEDA is operating the ACSR in partnership with National Orientation Agency (NOA), Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), African Centre for Information and Media Literacy (AFRICMIL) and the Yar’adua Foundation.

In collaboration with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the first forum discussed, engaged and reviewed the Oil and Gas Sector for Service Delivery and Accountability. The session was chaired by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and the NEITI report was delivered by the Executive Secretary, Mr Waziri Adio. Also in attendance were Prof Shehu Abdullahi (NOU), Dr Akoji (representative of the DG of NOA), Mr Femi Falana (renowned lawyer and activists), Mr Henry Adio (FOSTER), Mr Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado (Kano State Public Complaints & Anti-Corruption Commission) Mr Kunle Adegoke (Trustee, HEDA Resource Centre) and 30 participants from the NOA, Labour Unions, Media, and CSOs.

Part of NEITI’s objective is to ensure that there is due process, transparency and accountability in businesses operating in the oil & gas, solid minerals and the extractive industry- ensuring that these businesses pay the Nigeria government tax, royalty, bonuses, levis etc. Additionally, NEITI also ensures that government receives what it is expected to receive and that businesses pay what they are expected to pay government as at and when due. In view of NEITI’s mandate, the objective of the ACSR, and the oil sector accounting for almost 60% of government revenues and over 80% of export earnings, Mr Adio presented the highlights of the NEITI 2015 Oil and Gas Audit Report.

The report captured a steep decline in oil revenue between 2011 and 2015 from $68.4b to $24.7b due to the decline in oil price and local oil production. Other information and data highlighted product losses at N54.6billion through pipeline vandalism and product theft. Also highlighted are issues around NLNG dividend payment of $16.8billion in 16 years to NNPC with no evidence of remittance to the Federation account. NNPC claims it received instructions from the then President to warehouse the fund and spend as directed. Although, NEITI has requested NNPC to provide evidence of the presidential directive and statement of account on NLNG dividends, there has been no response till date.

The presentation stressed the need for citizens’ engagement with the data that’s being generated by NEITI. This data is generated at an enormous cost to the Country and should add value by enabling citizens hold leaders accountable. Mr Adio added that the sector is a technical one and requires the public to understand the happenings in the industry to be able to ask evidence based questions and demand effectively from government.

Where the work of NEITI stops is where that of other stakeholders e.g CSOs starts. NEITI as a government institution is restricted in the level of questions it can ask hence, it’s the duty of the citizens to use the available information to make investments that will transform the society.

Some other observations noted during the session include

  • Emphasis on openness, transparency, efficiency and accountability in the sector through the passage of the petroleum industry governance bill and onward transmission to the President for assent
  • Ensuring the effective implementation of the resultant laws to transform the O&G sector.
  • A fiat has been obtained from the Attorney General to sue all foreign banks involved in warehousing looted funds from Nigeria. In addition, interests accrued from these funds must be returned to the Nigeria government.
  • Address fundamental structural issues and improve legal framework in the industry.
  • Lack of monitoring mechanism of government income and expenditure.
  • Fixing the refineries and ensuring they are working at maximum capacity.
  • No checks in place to monitor the alternative arrangement for offshore refining.
  • Inability to identify the amount of crude oil leaving the Country at the loading point due to a lack of measuring mechanism.
  • Mass dissemination of key information and data to the citizens through the NOA.
  • The role of NOA to create  platforms for citizen’s engagement.
  • Lack of transparency in NNPC transactions
  • Recommendations
  • NEITI should put in place a mechanism of monitoring its recommendations and begin work in the solid minerals sector.
  • CSOs and Labour Union to come up with solution in terms of oil subsidy payment.
  • More CSOs to collaborate with NEITI through evidence based approach. The data will be provided by NEITI.
  • Identify the buyers of the stolen crude by following the chain of activities. Block exit points, identify and prosecute those involved in the theft.
  • Challenge the role of auditors in corrupt practices.

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