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Joint Communique

November 10, 2021

 A ONE-DAY WORKSHOP ON THE COST OF CORRUPTION ON BENEFIT TRANSFERS FOR ARTISANAL MINERS.

DATE: NOVEMBER 3, 2021

BudgIT, with support from Oxfam Nigeria, engaged CSOs and the media in a one-day workshop on “The Cost of Corruption on Benefit Transfers for Artisanal Miners” at the Visa Karena Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers Sta. 19 participants were drawn from the Civil Society Organisations, anti-corruption agencies and media organisations. The workshop’s objective was to build citizen-led movements for change in Oil & Gas and the Mining Sector, especially within the Niger Delta region.

The workshop spotlighted two main issues – “The History of Corruption in the Niger Delta” and “The Opportunity Cost for Corruption and Strategies of Combating it”. Participants were enlightened and informed on how corruption affects artisanal miners in the Niger Delta region and strategic action plans to combat it.

After robust discussions on the cancerous issues affecting the region, the following observations and recommendations were made:

OBSERVATIONS 

The participants observed that:  

  1. The laws and policies that regulate the mining sector are almost archaic. 
  2. The issue against corruption in Nigeria has been marred by negligence on the law enforcement agencies. 
  3. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is a conduit for the ruling administration.
  4. Due to the poverty rate, citizens at the grass-root level are interested in sharing proceeds from corruption.  
  5. There is a high corruption rate in the presidency. There should be an independent agency responsible for regulating and investigating the financial books of the Presidency and contracts and sub-contracts.
  6. The fight against corruption in the country is the challenge of the judiciary.
  7. The lack of adequate investigative reporting by the media is restricting the fight against corruption.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Participants at the workshop recommended the following:

  1. Organisations like BudgIT and other Civil Society Organisations should review the laws of the mining sector and recommend strategies based on the latest standard. 
  2. Anti-corruption agencies should investigate more cases of economic crimes and corrupt political officeholders.
  3. There should be a regulated tenure of the Niger Delta Development Commission leadership. 
  4. Citizens should be encouraged to shun corruption and demand accountability from the relevant authorities. 
  5. Civil Society Organisations should be actively involved in the fight against corrupt practices.
  6. There should be lawful enforcement of fines and sanctions to protect the laws and policies being violated. 
  7. The Civil Society Organisation should drive a positive public response to the clarion call for zero tolerance for corruption by the EFCC through awareness building and sustainable struggle resistances against corruption. 
  8. The Civil Society Organisation should maximise the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. In the case of denial, it can challenge the lack of transparency and disclosure of information before a competent court of law.
  9. Naming and shaming the officials involved in corruption.
  10. The purchasing power of the citizens should be improved.
  11. Adequate sensitisation for citizens through humanising stories, facts and strategies concerning corruption. 
  12. Establishment or restructuring of independent agencies responsible for regulating and investigating the accounts of the Presidency and contracts and sub-contracts.
  13. Media organisations should embrace a positive  style of news reporting 
  14. Localisation of the beneficial ownership register.
  15. Representatives of grassroots communities and artisanal miners should be present at subsequent workshops.

Endorsed by:

  1. ACE Dele Oyewale

Head, Public Affairs Directorate, Port Harcourt’s Zonal Command of the EFCC

  1. Ken Henshaw

Executive Director, We The People

  1. Munachi Ugochukwu

Programs Manager, CISLAC

  1. Evelyn Williams 

Rivers State Lead, Connected Development CODE

  1. Odeh Friday

Country Director, Accountability Lab

  1. Mfon Gabriel

Programme Officer, Policy Alert

  1. Ejafu Onyeka

Program Officer, International Centre for Women Empowerment and Child Development

  1. Benin Evuarherhe Richard

Executive Director, Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF)

  1. Jesse-Martins Manufor

Senior Program Officer, SDN

  1. Kentebe Ebiaridor

Environmental Rights Action

  1. Kpegebor Happy Eeyie

Network for Gender And Resource Justice

  1. Okoro Onyekachi Emmanuel

Project Coordinator, Media Awareness & Justice Initiative

  1. Ekemini Simon

The Mail Newspaper

  1. Jonathan Ugbal

News Editor, Cross River Watch

  1. Mark Olise

Publisher, Atlantic Post

  1. Ogar Sunday 

Media, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rivers Zone

  1. Engr. Akinbode Adejoke 

Extractive Lead, BudgIT

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