NEITI accuses oil block owners of manipulating records

*Nigeria oil acreage.

*Nigeria oil acreage.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

09 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja —
The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has accused owners of oil blocks and oil and gas assets in the country manipulating their records in the Corporate
Affairs Commission (CAC) thereby making them difficult to trace.

The Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, who spoke in Abuja during a meeting with delegates from the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI, led by the incoming Chairman, Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt and civil society organisations, yesterday, said the owners falsified their records to hide their true identity.

He said such acts was against the law, stressing that the issue of beneficial ownership as contained in EITI’s standards, requires the identity of the true owners of oil blocks.

According to Orji, records of the companies in the CAC are shrouded in secrecy and do not provide correct information about the true owners. “This makes it very difficult for us to effectively audit the activities of these companies, because we often can’t get a proper reading of who owns what, and how much they own,” he added.

The NEITI boss said this has been a challenge in implementing this specific requirement of EITI, even as he appealed to EITI to understand the peculiarities in the Nigerian environment.

Orji added that, “Beneficial ownership requires us to explain or provide information on the owners of certain oil blocks. But Nigeria is one kind of country; that is why I say nobody is going to suspend us; when you think we are going down, we tend to rise up and surpass expectations.”

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