ABUJA – Stakeholders, including civil society organisations, in the oil and gas sector on Tuesday said the non-implementation of its audit reports was responsible for the challenges in the industry.
This submission was made in Abuja at a capacity-building workshop on Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Audit Reports and Remediation Issues organised for the media.
The workshop was facilitated by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with OXFAM International, a non-governmental organisation.
The stakeholders said more than one billion naira was spent on various auditing in the sector between 1999 and 2011 but that the reports were yet to be implemented.
They said that instead of having improved situation on some identified challenges militating against the growth in the sector, “the reverse is the case’’.
One of the stakeholders, Mr Segun Adeniyi, an Editor with Thisday Newspaper, said that apart from lack of political will to implement the audit reports, “Nigerians don’t demand for accountability from authorities”.
“It is worrisome that people don’t challenge those in authority over some actions or inaction even when the report is made public for them to see,” he said.
He said that until Nigerians learn how to question their leaders over some of their activities there would be no changes in the ways things were done.
“The more audit reports we have the more you see increase in the violation of the recommendations, especially on the issue of tax and other critical issues in the sector,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr Auwal Musa, said that it was appalling the way the Federal Government had continued to spend money on auditing the oil and gas sector without results.
“I am not sure it is good to use public fund to do this auditing,” Musa said, adding that there was no need to identify problems without political will to execute or implement recommendations on them.
He expressed concern on what he described as “lukewarm attitude” of the anti-graft agencies in the country in fighting corruption in the sector.
Mr Celestine Odeh of OXFAM, said the political will to tackle the oil thieves was lacking at the state and Federal Government levels.
Odeh said it was unacceptable for a country like Nigeria that is richly endowed with natural resources to be living in poverty.
He, therefore, called on the key stakeholders in the oil sector to join in the fight against oil theft.
NEITI’s Director of Communication Ogbonanya Orji expressed concern over funding challenge the anti-graft agencies.
Orji said the operations of the agencies had been hampered by dwindling funds. (NAN)