Jonathan wants EITI's support for FG's fight against oil theft
President Goodluck Jonathan has Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to lend more weight to support efforts by the Federal Government to stop the exportation of stolen crude oil from Nigeria.
The president implored the chairperson of EITI, Ms. Claire Short, that the agency to join the federal government in working to ensure that refineries that receive stolen crude oil from Nigeria are identified and punished.
President Jonathan, who observed that Africa was losing a lot through leakages in the mining and extractive industry, also urged EITI chairperson to help in ending the exploitation of Africans and African nations by multinational companies engaged in the extraction of the continent's immense natural resources.
The President said that in keeping with the federal government's commitment to giving the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) all necessary support and freedom to discharge its duties, he will inaugurate an expanded inter-ministerial committee next week to ensure greater synergy in NEITI's investigations and facilitate the implementation of its recommendations for greater probity in Nigeria's oil industry.
Commending NEITI's efforts to discourage exploitation and corruption in extractive industries across the world, President Jonathan assured Ms. Short and her team that Nigeria will continue to strive for even greater openness and transparency in its oil and mining sectors.
Ms. Short briefed President Jonathan on EITI's on-going efforts to ensure that oil and other mineral resources of countries are well managed and utilized for the benefit of their citizens.
The EITI boss, who was at the Presidential Villa with chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Ledum Mitee, noted that the battle to halt corruption in the Nigerian oil industry cannot be fought by Nigeria alone, thus the need for an all-inclusive solution.
'What we have to do is bring everyone to the table to expose who is doing the cheating and then stop the problem. NEITI has been doing good work monitoring where the oil is going. In our last report, we exposed the loses but we are now going further to show where these oil are being taken and we are going to collaborate with other nations to expose those buying them,' Short said.
She added that 'we need to find who is buying this crude so that the international community can help us in dealing with the problems.'
Short, who blamed the nation's elite for colluding to rip Nigeria off huge revenue in the oil industry, however, stated that the solution to oil theft in Nigeria must be tackled through multi-national approach.
'It is always been argued whether it is the government, the international oil companies or the people who is responsible for the oil theft, but our experience has shown that you cannot place the blames at the doorstep of a single body. But the international community must co-operate to tackle the challenge,' she said.
She commended NEITI for doing a good work by assisting the Nigerian government in identifying the challenges and finding solution to oil theft in Nigeria.
EITI currently has over 50 member nations, including 22 in Africa. Other nations include Mongolia and the USA that is also making efforts to be part of the group.
The organisation's activities cover the nations with big revenue and investments in the oil and gas as well as solid mineral industry worldwide. The oil and gas industry is said to drive inequality and create corruption especially among nations where transparency is not entrenched.