The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has clarified media reports about $22 billion missing from the Federation Account in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, who made the clarification on Monday, said the reports were a deliberate and mischievous misrepresentation.
Adio said NEITI held a conference on remedial issues from its audits with wide representation from government agencies, private sector, civil society and the parliament.
“Event was designed to deliberate on how to ensure better uptake and implementation of recommendation of NEITI audits, conducted at considerable costs to the country,” he said.
He added that one of the documents discussed and shared at the event was a status update on remedial issues in NEITI’s audit reports covering 1999 to 2015.
“The document had issues fully resolved, partially resolved, and unresolved, colour-coded in green, amber and red respectively. While the report mentioned $23b not remitted to the Federation Account, this was for the period covering 2000 to 2015.
“The non-remittance happened over a 16-year period and not under this administration. There is a world of difference between money not remitted and money missing from Federation Account.
“Except for urge for sensation, there is nothing ‘breaking’ in this report, which was this was subject of a policy brief released by NEITI as far back as March 2017. To heap amount not remitted between 2000 and 2015 on the present administration is to take both mischief and partisan politics beyond the pale.
“While politicians cannot be stopped from playing politics, the work of NEITI is too important to be politicised. Our focus, driven by validated and reconciled data, is how to ensure that Nigeria’s natural resources are transparently and accountably governed and are used to drive even, shared and sustainable development in our country.
“Distorting the reports/outputs of such a critical organisation to political mischief undermines and diminishes all of us,” Adio said.
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