From JOE EFFIONG, Uyo
President Goodluck Jonathan has said his administration has no reason and intention to cover up any ascertained misdeeds uncovered by various fact finding groups in the extractive industries, especially in the oil and gas industry.
In his address at the Board Retreat for members of the National Stakeholders’ Working Group of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State yesterday, Jonathan said his commitment to transparency and accountability especially in extractive industries, was why his administration initiated and submitted itself to public scrutiny through several fact-finding panels and objective criticisms.
The president whose address was delivered by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, said his administration’s goal was to use any lesson from the scrutiny to reform the system to serve the interest of the country.
“To give more practical expression to our commitment in this regard, I have given necessary directives towards open and unrestricted support to NEITI to carry out its statutory functions. I see the regular conducts of NEITI audits and prompt implementation of its recommendations as the gateway to accelerate the much needed reforms not just in the oil and gas sector but also in the general conduct of government business.”
While appealing to all to support the FederalGgovernment efforts to pursue the reforms to logical conclusion, Jonathan said government was resolute in building better systems and procedure that would strengthen the capacity of relevant government agencies and halt mismanagement, inefficiency and lack of transparency in the extractive sector, stressing that such would not be compromised. The Executive Secretary of NEIT, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said the body was delighted that the Federal Government had assembled a rare breed of professionals in various fields in the extractive sector to take the NEITI and EITI implementation in Nigeria to a enviable level. “I am pleased to announce that NEITI has almost concluded comprehensive audit activities of the oil and gas industry from the 2009 to 2011, the reports of the two audits would be examined by the board here in Uyo. It is our hope that the NEITI will publish these reports on or before the end of the years.”