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Don’t Reinstate NEITI Board, Civil Society Group Warns Buhari

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja – A Civil Society Group under the aegis of FOI Coalition has warned President Mohammadu Buhari not to succumb to the pressure of those calling for the dissolved Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

FOI Coalition in a statement on Sunday alleged that several members of the dissolved Board had long lost their credibility, independence, neutrality and therefore, lack the moral right to remain on the board of an institution meant to ensure transparency and accountability in the oil sector, which has become a cesspit of corruption.

According to the statement signed by 15 civil society organisation belonging to FOI Coalition, there surreptitious and covert moves by some interests to stampede the government into reversing this decision.

“Following the recent commendable decision by your administration to dissolve the Boards of Federal Parastatals, Agencies and Departments in Nigeria including the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) of Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the under-signed group of civil society organisations working on transparency, accountability and good governance in Nigeria’s extractive sector have observed with keen interest, some self-serving, individuals calling for the reinstatement of the dissolved NEITI Board.

“We are aware of surreptitious and covert moves by some interests to stampede the government into reversing this decision. These individuals have been making subterranean moves to truncate the reforms you are on the verge of instituting in the NEITI Board.

“Using sponsored media publications, they have been conflating the issues and whipping up sentiments to attract sympathy and exert undue international pressure on your government. We are morally compelled to advance to Your Excellency, reasons why the dissolution should be allowed to stand.

“Not less than three (3) members of the dissolved Board have displayed brazen partisanship, which runs contrary to the core values of a transparency driven institution like the NEITI. For references, the following can be confirmed by Your Excellency:

Engr .Musa Nashumi: PDP Governorship Aspirant, Katsina State,  Engr. Bassey Ekefre (Former Commissioner of Work) active participant PDP Presidential campaign team from Cross River State, Barr. Patrick Udonfang: PDP Director of Legal Services, Akwa Ibom, State and Ms. Abiola Ige: Active participant in the PDP Presidential campaign team in the South West

“Indeed, all members of the Board representing each geo-political zone in the country were fully involved in partisan-politics during the just concluded 2015 general elections. This has without doubt, eroded the level of credibility expected of members of the NEITI Board”, statement said.


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