By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives, NEITI, yesterday took the first step to compel petroleum and mining companies to report on the impact of their operations on the local environment across the country.
Speaking at a national stakeholders’ validation workshop on the development of frameworks for environmental impact and gender reporting in the extractive industries, the Chairman of NEITI board, Mr. Adeyemi Adekunle said the operations of oil and gas, and mining companies have had a devastating impact on the environment.
Adekunle explained that “in 2019, resource extracting countries committed to disclose data and information on gender and the environment. This decision is recognition of the growing impact that the activities in the extractive industry continue to have on human communities and the natural environment.
“The decision also signposts the urgent need for global and country level action to facilitate gender inclusion and environmental accountability in the extractive sector.
“In 2020, Nigeria EITI published the first data on gender participation and environmental practices in the industry. Beyond the audits, we have also carried out exploratory studies to understand the specific gender and environmental issues in the sector, and to generate insights about the scope of the impacts.
“Armed with the initial outputs of these studies and engagements, we are close to defining the parameters for disclosure on gender and the environmental impacts. The framework will aggregate the knowledge that we have generated in the last two years” he added.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji explained the framework on reporting on issues of environment and gender would provide the country with relevant data needed to ensure that the companies operate in a responsible manner.
According to him, “While NEITI is mandated to implement EITI in Nigeria, we do not generate industry data. This is the responsibility of covered entities and relevant institutions. NEITI subsequently collects this data to publish in the annual audit reports.
“With the implementation of data mainstreaming and systematic disclosure, the relevant institutions will begin to take on both responsibilities to generate and publish data in real time. This will add significant value to transparency and accountability by further increasing the timeliness and relevance of data”.
On her part, a former board member of global Extractive Industries Transparency, EITI, Faith Nwadishi noted that it took a lot of hard work to bring up the issue of reporting on the environment for discussion at the EITI.
She also noted that with Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act 2021 silent on gender reporting in the industry, the NEITI framework would help in mainstreaming the issue to bridge the gap created in the PIA.
By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja