By Obas Esiedesa – Abuja
With Nigeria due for compliant country re-validation process in January next year, the recent dissolution of all federal boards, including that of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has left the country faith hanging in the balance.
The global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) does not allow government interventions in its process.
The EITI process is an anchored on a tripod made up of governments, industry operators and civil society organisations.
But with the dissolution of the National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG) which serves as NEITI board, practically all EITI processes have now been halted.
The five-year single term tenure of the board expires next month.
However trouble is brewing among the CSOs rank in NEITI as a section has accused their representative on the board, Faith Nwadishi of trying to get Nigeria thrown out of EITI following her letter to the world body.
Nwadishi in her letter to EITI Chair, Claire Short stated that government dissolution of the board would affect the integrity of NEITI.
She wrote: “Yesterday the president dissolved all boards in the country which means the NEITI message is affected by this action, the Nigeria EITI is technically suspended.
“The immediate past president did same, but when the implications were presented to him, he reversed the decision.
“Considering the gains of the NEITI in the country dissolving the board will erode a lot of these successes.
“Further implication of this is that the president can use his discretion to dissolve and reconstitute the board at will putting the integrity of NEITI at risk.
“The tenure of the present MSG ends in August 2016.
“We will need your support to get the president to reverse this proclamation”, Nwadishi concluded.
In her reply to the letter, Short expressed optimism that the government would revisit the issue in order not to destabilise the EITI process in the country.
She however pointed out that the “first step will be for NEITI to inform the Presidency that the NEITI law requires that full terms of the NSWG are served, and that company and civil society representatives must be selected by their own constituencies.
Source : Independent