With TrustAfrica’s support, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), organised a retreat for Nigerian legislators on NEITI process and remedial issues. The retreat held between 1 and 3 August 2018 at Protea hotel, Kuramo Waters, Lagos. The programme aimed at strengthening legislative engagements on the management and oversight of the extractive sector in Nigeria. It had in attendance members of civil society, legislative aids and legislators, including the Chairs of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senate Committee on Federal Character & Inter-Governmental Relations, and House Committee Petroleum Upstream.
During the meeting, it was noted that the existing NEITI Act does not empower it to enforce compliance and prosecute offenders but restricts its powers to audit of the extractive sector and dissemination of its report. This limits NEITI’s effectiveness and the seriousness accorded to it by the extractive institutions. There is therefore a need to review and amend the law.
After robust discussions around remedial actions and the role of legislators in advancing them, participants were in consensus that legislators could supporting NEITI by helping to close the gaps identified in the laws by amending the existing NEITI law and other relevant laws (including the Petroleum Industry Bill), use NEITI reports to hold government agencies to account and lastly, raise awareness in their constituencies regarding activities of NEITI and what constituency members should know and do.
Next steps from the meeting include the creation of a NEITI Parliamentary Forum to push legislative support for legislations and oversight functions relevant to the extractive sector in Nigeria. The legislators, amongst others, also committed to support NEITI in resolving remedial issues form the audit reports, use public hearings to discuss and debate NEITI’s reports and support the amendment of the NEITI Act to make NEITI more effective.