Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre calls for urgent action to address disturbing Initiative audit report  findings 

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Abuja.

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on the Federal Government to urgently respond to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI’s) recent 2021 oil and gas industry audit report expose.

CISLAC’s Executive Director, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, who made the call in a statement on Friday in Abuja, described the content of the report as “troubling revelations”.

According to him, the report has uncovered critical issues within Nigeria’s oil and gas sector that demand prompt attention to ensure transparency, accountability, and optimal national development.

Rafsanjani, who also  heads Transparency International Nigeria Chapter, emphasised that the report highlighted a decline in Nigeria’s ranking and score in the Transparency International (TI) 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.

According to him, this  underscores recurring concerns regarding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s oversight of the nation’s shared assets.

“The audit findings reveal alarming losses in crude oil due to theft, sabotage, and measurement errors, along with significant expenditures on PMS subsidies and quasi-fiscal items.

“Moreover, the report sheds light on unremitted or under-remitted federation revenues, misapplication of the 13 per cent derivation principle, issues related to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), sector governance.

“It also  concerns regarding crude oil and gas barter arrangements.

“CISLAC is calling for immediate action, utilising the legal and regulatory framework provided by the PIA to mobilise civil society for advocacy, public debates, and vigilant monitoring of sector reforms, ” he said.

Rafsanjani  said that the  organisation advocated for the simplification and widespread dissemination of the report’s key findings to enhance public awareness and drive demand for transparency and accountability.

“Furthermore, the non-profit legislative advocacy is urging the strengthening of the capacity of extractive-focused civic actors concerning essential strategies and sector-specific issues within the PIA.

“This encompasses beneficial ownership, contract transparency, audit remediation, and metering. “

Rafsanjani said that  the organisation emphasised the critical importance of tracking and following up on remediations and host community development.

He said that in alignment with the PIA, CISLAC  also advocated for improved data management processes within government agencies reporting and conducting transactions in the sector.

He said that the  organisation also called for a thorough investigation and audit into subsidy payments, project eagle loans, and other loan arrangements in exchange for the nation’s crude oil and gas.

“CISLAC, the Nigerian chapter of Transparency International (TI), is urging the National Assembly to provide effective oversight of the implementation of the extractive sector legal framework and take serious action on NEITI audit report recommendations,” he said.

Rafsanjani   further urged the Nigerian government to investigate and hold public officials accountable for accepting nearly 80 million dollars in bribes from Glencore, a multinational mining and commodity trading company.

He said that in spite of  Glencore facing repercussions for bribery, public officials on the receiving end had not faced any consequences.

He said in like manner, CISLAC had pointed to the over US$1 billion paid in bribes by Eni and Royal Dutch Shell for the rights to the OPL 245 offshore oilfield to members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

“This questionable deal could cost Nigeria as much as US$5 billion due to poorly negotiated fiscal terms, in addition to the US$1.1 billion already lost due to corrupt payments, as outlined by the Italian prosecutors,” he said 

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