Nigeria – The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) will jointly work with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to tackle corruption in the extractive industry.
The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, gave this indication during a visit to the corporate headquarters of the Commission by the top management of NEITI led by its Executive Secretary, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji.
Owasanoye, according to the Commission spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua stated that ensuring transparency and accountability of the extractive industries has become necessary due to its importance as the largest revenue earner for the nation.
He assured that the collaboration with the NEITI will help recover revenues for the government and block loopholes in the extractive industries.
He said, “We will use our own statutory mandate and enforcement powers to back up NEITI’s work for the collective interest of our country.
“The ICPC will also beam its searchlight on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in the revenue side of governance as part of its preventive mandate”.
The ICPC boss decried that the existing governing law for NEITI was over sixty years old, and therefore encouraged the new leadership of the organisation to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) law was passed by the National Assembly.
“The vulnerability of the extractive sector is what led to the PIB. NEITI has to remain focused and steadfast in ensuring that the PIB law is passed”, Owasanoye said.
Responding to NEITI Executive Secretary’s request for capacity building and exchange of information, he reiterated that the Commission was open to work together with the Initiative.
Earlier, the leader of the NEITI delegation, Dr. Orji, while explaining the purpose of the visit, said that the agency was facing governance issues and corruption in the extractive industries because it lacked the powers to arrest and prosecute.
The Executive Secretary called for the establishment of an Extractive Industries Desk in the ICPC.
The setting of the Extractive Industries Desk, according to him, will enhance the collaboration between the two organisations to tackle the problem of corruption.
“We can leverage on ICPC’s enforcement powers to help us so that those people we are dealing with will have understanding that with their powers to bite, there would be consequences.”
“We cannot function well without working closely with you to help us build on our strengths and close gaps of weaknesses,” Orji said.