The secrecy shrouding terms and conditions of contracts in Nigeria’s extractive sector has, once again raised concern for stakeholders, especially as the country fights corruption.
Although a signatory to the London Anticorruption Summit, and the Open Government Partnership, as well as Extractive Transparency Initiative, over 20 civil society organisations insisted that the current practice in which contracts entered into by government are negotiated and held in secrecy negates the globally-accepted practice.
In a communiqué obtained by reporters, stakeholders decried the lack of transparency and accountability, noting that the sector was still exposed to corruption, unfavourable contracts, and revenue losses to the nation.
They group called for the development, adoption, and implementation of a framework for contract transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria.
The group included Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Publish What You Pay Nigeria, OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative, Policy Alert, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Global Rights, Koyenum Immallah Foundation, African Network Environment and Economic Justice and Sustainable Environment & Peace Initiative.
Others were Community Outreach For Development and welfare Advocacy (CODWA), Institutional and Sustainable Development Foundation, and Initiative for participation Accountability and Inclusive Development.
Also among them are Association of Niger Delta Host Community Leaders, Global Awareness for Development initiative, Youth Forum on EITI, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR), Woman in extractive, Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative (ReCHDI) and Save a Soul Foundation Zamfara.
The CSOs noted that contract transparency is compatible with the anti-corruption thrust of the present administration, and constitutes a major way to consolidate anticorruption efforts in the extractive sector.
To address the situation, the group called on the Federal Government to commence multi-stakeholder consultations on how to proceed with the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector in accordance with all her international commitments.
They also asked the Federal Ministries of Petroleum Resources, and Mines and Steel Development; the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); and Mining Cadastre Office to collaborate with the NEITI and other stakeholders, including CSOs, to develop and adopt a framework for the implementation of contract transparency in the nation’s extractive sector.
According to the document, there was a need for civil society organisations to engage the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice through the Open Government Partnership Secretariat, to commence the review of the necessary legislative and policy frameworks that will make the implementation of contract transparency in the extractive sector a reality in Nigeria.