Olumide Ojo, Private Sector Investment Programme Manager of OXFAM, has called on legislators across all tiers of government to embrace transparency and accountability for the Nigerian economy’s growth.
Mr Ojo made the call on Monday in Lagos while fielding questions from journalists at a one-day workshop on ‘Open Data and Advocacy in the Nigerian Extractives Sector.’
The workshop was organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in partnership with OXFAM.
He said, “Legislators access public resources. They should be able to explain and make themselves accessible and accountable to the people on a regular basis.”
Mr Ojo added that the workshop aimed to review NNPC’s self-audit report, saying its transparency is critical to sustainable development.
“Today, majority of the states and the federal government make their budget documents accessible online. The usability of the documents to citizens may be secondary, but we did not have it before,” he noted.
The OXFAM programme manager explained that governments’ transparency, responsiveness, and accountability would lead to the development of the nation and the well-being of the people.
According to him, the citizens are required to be accountable through payment of taxes and protection of public infrastructure.
He explained, “‘Do I cut corners? We are all in the race together. I cannot challenge the senator representing my constituency if I am not patriotic.”
Chinedu Bassey, CISLAC Programme Manager, Tax Justice, Environment and Conservation of Nature, reviewed the policy brief on the audit of NNPC.
Bassey said the inability to be transparent in Nigeria’s extractives industry led to the under-remittance of revenues to the federal government.
He noted that effective utilisation of open data for probity was key to transparency and accountability in extractive sector governance.