NEITI, EFCC sign MoU to tackle corruption in Nigeria’s extractive sector
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve the fight against corruption in the extractive sector.
In a statement on Wednesday, Obiageli Onuorah, head of communications and advocacy, said the MoU was signed by Orji Ogbonnaya and Abdulrasheed Bawa, chief executive officer of NEITI and EFCC chairman, respectively.
According to the statement, the MoU renews and re-affirms the commitment of both agencies to partner and collaborate in the fight against corruption in Nigeria’s extractive sector.
“NEITI and EFCC agreed to cooperate in the areas of information and data sharing, joint operations, prevention and remediation actions on governance, processes and corruption issues in Nigeria’s extractive sector,” the statement read.
“Other areas of cooperation and partnership include regular capacity building and training, participation in fraud risk assessment efforts, investigation, prosecution and management of information and compliance and enforcement of sanctions.
“Both agencies also agreed that the modalities for the collaboration and partnership must be based on the implementation of the EITI principles and the NEITI processes and within the operational mandate of the EFCC.”
In his remarks, Orji commended the partnership and cooperation between both agencies, saying it will bear positive results.
The NEITI boss said the partnership will ensure that corrupt officials are prosecuted while the country’s resources are well utilised.
“In the past, there were assumptions that NEITI can only bark, but cannot bite. With the MoU signed today with the EFCC, the MoU have provided NEITI with the teeth which have been missing,” he said.
“We can now bark and bite. NEITI has expertise in the oil, gas and mining sector and EFCC has expertise in investigation and prosecution of crimes in extractive sector operations. This partnership is therefore designed towards blocking leakages, hold people accountable and increase government revenues.
“Though there is an already existing relationship between NEITI and the EFCC, there is the need to further deepen and strengthen the collaboration through the expansion and widening of areas of the cooperation so as to push the boundaries of accountability in the management of Nigeria’s extractive wealth.”
He said the EFCC believes that “if we can block the leakages in revenue specially in the extractive sector, Nigeria will not need to borrow a kobo from anywhere to fund its budget”.
“We have given you our teeth for us to bite together. Here at the EFCC, we have the Extractives Industry Fraud Section established to deal with issues in the extractive industry. We have strengthened efforts at the Airports to ensure that there is sanity in the way our minerals are accounted for,” he said.
“We know what our two agencies stand for. There are areas that NEITI cannot reach that we can reach. This MoU, therefore, is about prevention, enforcement and coordination to rid our country of economic and financial crimes in all its ramifications and especially in the extractive industry.”
This development comes days after the federal government inaugurated the governing board of NEITI.
The board, also known as the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG), was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari after 17 months since the Kayode Fayemi-led board left.