Akin Akande, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan Monday in Abuja urged the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to do more to support efforts by the Federal Government to stop the exportation of stolen crude oil from Nigeria.
Speaking at an audience he granted the Chairperson of EITI, Ms. Claire Short, President Jonathan called on EITI to join the Federal Government in working to ensure that refineries that receive stolen crude oil from Nigeria are identified and punished.
“The efforts of EITI in criminalizing ‘blood diamonds’ from African mines have helped in curtailing that illegal business. I urge you to also support Nigeria as we confront the forces stealing Nigerian crude oil,” the president said.
“The theft of crude oil from Nigeria involves the collusion of foreigners and the stolen crude is refined abroad. EITI can use its mechanisms to help us track down the thieves and those who receive the stolen crude oil,” the President told Ms. Short.
President Jonathan who observed that Africa was losing a lot through leakages in the mining and extractive industry, also urged Ms. Short and her colleagues at EITI to help in ending the exploitation of Africans and African nations by multinational companies engaged in the extraction of the continent’s immense natural resources.
The President announced that in keeping with the Federal Government’s commitment to giving the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) all necessary support and freedom to discharge its duties, he will inaugurate an expanded inter-ministerial committee next week to ensure greater synergy in NEITI’s investigations and facilitate the implementation of its recommendations for greater probity in Nigeria’s oil industry.
Commending EITI’s efforts to discourage exploitation and corruption in extractive industries across the world, President Jonathan assured Ms. Short and her team that Nigeria would continue to strive for even greater openness and transparency in its oil and mining sectors.
Ms. Short briefed President Jonathan on EITI’s ongoing efforts to ensure that oil and other mineral resources of countries are well managed and utilized for the benefit of their citizens.