Transparency International welcomes the announcement by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria of a full investigation into the oil sector where revenues of up to US$20 billion are alleged to have disappeared from the state-owned oil company, and calls on the government to step up its fight against corruption. “Missing revenues are depriving Nigerian citizens of a fair share of this wealth that could go to improving health, education and creating employment for the youth.
The government owes it to the people of Nigeria to investigate this fully and hold to account those responsible,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International. The news that billions of dollars in oil revenues are not in the country’s national accounts was raised by the governor of the Nigerian Central Bank and various watchdog institutions. To win against corruption, Nigeria needs effective oversight institutions and no impunity for corruption. Stronger provisions in the much-awaited new oil law could help deliver greater transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s oil sector so that natural resources benefit all citizens. Transparency International urges the government to move quickly on this new legislation. Nigeria is pumping an average of 2 million barrels per day. Despite being Africa’s largest oil producer, the country has some of the lowest human development indicators in the world. Life expectancy is only 52 years and 85 per cent of the population live on less than US$2 a day.
According to Nigeria’s Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) owes the government US$ 8.3 billion in oil revenues for the years 2009-2011. Nigerian Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has also called for an independent forensic audit of the financial accounts of the NNPC. President Jonathan pledged zero tolerance to corruption when he took office but 84 per cent of Nigerians surveyed by Transparency International in 2012 stated that corruption had increased in the past two years.