AU and efforts to tackle Youth Unemployment in Africa

The Joint Youth Employment Initiative originated from the Bank Senior Management’s commitment to address the challenge of youth unemployment in Africa and the African Union’s (AU) decision to tackle youth unemployment in the continent. During the AU’s 17th Ordinary Session held in Malabo in July 2011, the Heads of States requested the Bank to work with the African Union Commission, regional economic communities, and other international development partners to develop a comprehensive pact to reduce youth unemployment, with strong ownership by governments, the private sector, and youth organizations.

Despite the numerous ongoing interventions on youth employment in Africa, high youth unemployment in Africa, high youth unemployment and underemployment exists. There are also issues of youth employment that have not been well addressed. Weaknesses and challenges that have been identified include weak implementation of commitments, plans, and declarations; fragmented and uncoordinated efforts; scarcity of knowledge, information and lessons learned; absence of regular, reliable, and harmonized labour market data on youth employment; poor participation of youth in employment policies and programs; lack of involvement of the private sector; insubstantial focus on the informal sector; and adequate demand–side responses.

Based on these gaps partners have adopted a two-step approach to implement the initiative. First is mapping and analysing all policies, stakeholders, and instruments directed toward youth employment at the country level and capitalizing on what exists. Second is developing and implementing the action plans.

The added value of this initiative is anchored in the comparative advantages of its partner institutions and the above approach. It is reflected at five levels: the diagnosis and mapping exercise at the country level; changes at the political level through intergovernmental frameworks and the commitment of the decision-makers in countries: knowledge production and sharing according to the experience of the partners; implementation of innovative projects; and impact evaluation.

The bank has undertaken studies and activities targeted at youth employment. Examples include the note prepared by the joint youth Employment Initiative team to provide back-ground for the 2012 African Economic Out-look, which  focused on youth employment; the pilot exercise of labour-based job creation under the Burkina Faso-Togo regional road project approved by the Board on June 27, 2012; the preparation of flagship reports on youth employment for several African Countries, including Ethiopia, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Tunisia; the analysis on efficiency and employment-related challenges; the Souk At-Tanmia project to boost youth employment in Tunisia and soon in Togo; and the translation and printing of the AU white book on youth employment distributed during the last AU Heads of States Summit in Addis Ababa in January 2013.

Moreover the Bank and the international labour Organization, as the operational institutions for the initiative, have started several joint activities. Such activities include the mapping and diagnostic exercise of the labour markets of Burkina Faso and Senegal; the Bank’s staff capacity-building on main-streaming youth employment in operations and policies; and the evaluation of the impact of the Bank’s operations on employment.

On the 12th April 2013, the JYEIA has been officially launched by African Ministers of Labour and Employment, during the 9th Ordinary Session of the AU Labour and Social Affairs Commission in Addis-Ababa. The letter of intent has been signed in Addis-Ababa by representatives of the 4 partner organizations on September 12th, 2013. The document reflects their commitment of technical and financial resources to launch the proposed activities in the framework of the initiative.

Source: AfDB

AU, AfDB Ink Agreement for Improved Access to Rural Water Supply and Sanitation for 5 Million People

The Government of Rwanda, spearheading an African Union-led initiative, and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) have signed an agreement aimed at providing at least EUR 50 million (approx. USD 70 million) within an Africa-wide resource mobilization initiative. The initiative will finance improved access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa. The agreement was signed on the fringes of the 23rd AU Summit held from 26-27 June 2014 In Malabo (Equatorial Guinea).

The so-called “Kigali Action Plan” (KAP) aims to improve the livelihoods of five million people in 10 African Union Member States (including eight Fragile States). The KAP is intending to mobilise a part of the required funds by championing water and sanitation projects in Africa through a crowdfunding platform.

“The RWSSI Trust Fund is a strategic vehicle”, said AfDB’s Vice President in charge of Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, who commended the AU and Rwanda for choosing the AfDB to host those funds. “With some EUR 140 million contributed to date by the Trust Fund Donors [Note to editors: Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland], we have been able to leverage a total of some EUR 5 billion for rural water supply and sanitation. The AfDB, through the RWSSI Trust Fund, has provided clean water for 82 million people and improved sanitation for 57 million”, Mr. Abou-Sabaa said.

Paul Kagame is championing the KAP, an initiative in response to the inaugural African Water and Sanitation Report submitted by the African Water and sanitation Ministers to the AU Assembly in January 2014, which indicated that Africa will miss the MDG targets for water supply and sanitation by gaps of 16 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. It also showed that expenditure was below requirements and highlighted the need to address tissues hindering the implementation of Africa’s commitments towards water and sanitation.

The Kigali Action Plan provides the combination of the much needed political leadership, commitment and innovation required to deliver the Water and Sanitation MDGs. It also focuses on the implementation of direct action at community level aimed at redressing rural household water supply and sanitation deficiencies in Africa.

The following ten countries, all of them considered to be off-track in achieving the MDGs, were selected: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Lesotho and Mauritania. With the exception of Lesotho and Mauritania these countries are regarded as fragile states.

The signing ceremony between the Government of Rwanda and the African Development Bank formalises the hosting of mobilised resources by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSSI) Trust Fund. The RWSSI Trust Fund, together with contributions from the AfDB, bilateral and multilateral agencies, African governments and communities aims to accelerate access to drinking water supply and sanitation in rural Africa in order to attain the MDG targets in 2015 and the African Water Vision targets of 2025.

Eligible activities for RWSSI-TF resources are water supply infrastructure specifically for off-track and fragile states, sanitation infrastructure, development of rural water and sanitation policies, programme and project preparation as well as capacity building and training.

Source: AfDB

DECISION ON POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA AT ASSEMBLY OF THE AFRICAN UNION TWENTY-THIRD ORDINARY SESSION 26-27TH JUNE 2014 HELD IN MALABO, EQUITOR GUINEA

The Assembly,

  1. TAKES NOTE of the Report of Seventh Joint Annual Meeting of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning  and Economic Development;
  2. REQUEST:
  1. Member States to ensure that the overarching goal of the Common African Position, which is to eradicate poverty in all its forms, is the key message in the intergovernmental negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda, and to be vigilant about what Africa is negotiating;
  2. The Commission, in collaboration with partners, to carry out projections of financing needs for implementing the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Africa using sustainable financing including domestic resources.
    1. CALLS UPON the secretariat of the High-level Committee, with the support of partners, to come up with an advocacy and negotiation strategy to build alliances in order to ensure that African priorities identified in the Common African Position are reflected in the global Post-2015 Development Agenda;
    2. REQUESTS member State to enhance their statistical capacity to enable them to effectively monitor progress in the implementation of Post-2015 Development Agenda, and CALLS UPON countries that have not signed and ratified the Africa Charter on Statistics to do so as expeditiously as possible;
  • CALLS UPON the Commission, in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the African Capacity-Building Foundation, to fast-track the establishment of the African Union Institute for Statistics Training Centre, in accordance with the decision made by Heads of State and Government;

 

  1. REQUESTS:
  • the Commission, the Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programmes to facilitate regular expert dialogue between development planners and statisticians, with the purpose of embedding statistics in planning and management for results, so that Africa’s transformative Agenda is achieved;

 

the Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme and regional economic communities, with the support of partners, to organize a high-level conference in 2014 to discuss the data revolution in Africa and its implications for the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

DECISION ON THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN AFRICA AT TWENTY-FIFTH ORDINARY SESSION 20-24 JUNE 2014 OF THE AFRICAN UNION IN HELD MALABO, EQUITORIAL GUINEA

The Executive Council,

    1. TAKES NOTE of the Report of the PRC Sub-Committee of Refugees and the attached annex of the Report of the Commission on the Humanitarian Situation in Africa;
    2. EXPRESSES CONCERN over the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa caused mainly by recurrent conflicts and natural disasters on the Continent;
    3. EXPRESSES GRATITUDE to countries of asylum that continue to meet their international obligations and commit themselves to extent hospitality to refugees;
    4. RECOGNIZES the commendable work done by AU Partners and other relevant humanitarian agencies in the area of forced displacement and URGES them to continue addressing the humanitarian situation on the Continent;
    5. APPEALS to the international community to exert all efforts to extent the financial and material assistance to the forcibly displaced population in the spirit of solidarity and burden sharing.
    6. COMMENDS the concrete steps taken so far by the Africa Union, IGAD, the UN System, and other development partners in taking early action to the looming humanitarian crisis and complex emergency in the Horn of Africa Region and in particular Somalia where millions are affected by conflicts, food insecurity, droughts, and famine;
    7. WELCOME the announcement by the UN Secretary General on the World Humanitarian Summit schedule to take place in 2016, in Istanbul, Turkey;
  • REQUESTS:

 

  1. the Commission in close collaboration with the PRC Sub-Committee on Refugees to engage Member State in a Political Process, while ensuring participation in the ‘Technical Process’ being organized by UNOCHA to establish an African Position that will be presented at the World Humanitarian Summit;
  2. the Commission to continuously make a progress report to the Executive Council at each Ordinary Summit leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit.
  • INVITES all Members States to actively participate in the Specialized Technical Committee Meeting on Migration, Refugees and Internal Displaced Persons, schedule to take place in Abuja, Nigeria later this year and REQUESTS the Commission to report on the outcome of this meeting to the Executive Council during the next Heads of State Summit in January 2015.

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF 2nd NATIONAL CSOs CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON PEACE AND SECURITY WITH THE THEME “ASSESMENT OF NIGERIA NATIONAL SECURITY THREATS AND THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN PEACE BUILDING” ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM NIGERIA STABILITY AND RECONCILIATION PROGRAM (NSRP) AT TOP RANK GALAXY, UTAKO DISTRICT, ABUJA ON THE 31ST DAY OF JULY 2014

Preamble

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized the 2nd National CSOs Consultative Meeting on Peace and Security with the support from Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Program (NSRP).The consultative forum was to air their views and make recommendations where necessary on how to combat the National Security threats and peace building at all levels. The forum featured participants who were drawn from stakeholders across the various thematic areas which include Women Focused NGOs, FBOs, Youth and Labor Organizations, Media and CBOs including office of the National Security Adviser of the country. There were 31 participants in attendance including representative of the NSRP. After exhaustive deliberations on the issues of “Concept of Peace Building, Assessment of Nigeria National Security Threats and the Role of Civil Society in Peace Building”

Also, the forum agreed on key recommendations to the National Peace and Security Forum chaired by the Director General of National Institute on Peace and Reconciliation based on the feedback delivered by the CSOs delegation on the forum. The meeting had the following observations and recommendations:

Observations

• That the underlining National Threats in Nigeria can be traced to Rising and increasing poverty, registration of indigene and non-indigene by some state government which contravenes citizenship, the spate of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape, unemployment, unethical pronouncements by some state government, election rigging, massive and unprecedented level of corruption, Ebola Virus et al
• Violence in Nigeria since the return to democracy in 1999 were offshoots of political infighting as presidential committee in 2011 virtually indicted all almost all state Governors for arming the youths.
• Only 10% of wealthy Nigerians controls 41% of National Wealth in the midst of mind bugling poverty, 5.2 trillion Naira are the cumulative reported corrupt cases in selected dailies between 2011 and 2014; this is more than the National Annual budget which brings it to a monthly theft of 220 billion Naira which again is more than the annual budget of 18 states put together. A figure which has largely brewed anger amongst the larger populace with feelings of exclusion.
• There are 52million out of school children globally, 5 countries account for these figure while Nigeria alone accounts for 10.5 million. 8.5 million of these figure are domiciled in the North – West and North East respectively which invariably increases the army of the Boko Haram Militia.
• The Nigeria Police and Nigeria Army authorities have not demonstrated commitment to the National Peace Security Forum considering that such forum should play complimentary role in the ongoing effort against the spread of insecurity in Nigeria.
• That there is lack of political will from both our policy makers and Political Parties to incorporate strategies to fight insurgency and control negative impact of conflict Nigeria.
• That over militarization of public events is becoming rampant that need to be controlled.

Recommendations

• Civil Society Organizations should increase advocacies at all levels to put government on the spot light towards ensuring a near zero and decreasing poverty, deregistration of indigene and non-indigene by some state government and entrench the culture of citizenship, be more objective rather than subjective on issues of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape, create employments, be more ethical in making pronouncements, election transparency, reduce corruption and stem the Ebola Virus to achieve the desired result in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
• That Government and Civil Society Organizations should embark on civic education as well as build capacity of the Electoral Management Bodies (EMB’s) in the conduct of all election towards 2015 and beyond as a major instrument in curbing election related conflicts and violence in Nigeria.
• CSOs should work with security institutions to ensure that the permanent hurricane of corruption that is currently spreading violence should be mitigated by providing adequate social welfare and equal resource distribution amongst the citizens as a panacea to reducing angst, conflict and structural violence.
• Government should invest massively in Education in Nigeria and the North in particular as a means of increasing knowledge and de-radicalize both converted and intending armies as well as ensure synergy of strong information sharing to aid counter terrorism in Nigeria.
• There is need to enhance and strengthen civil/military relations in order to curb conflict provocation while the Police and Army are encouraged to use the National Peace and Security Forum as a platform to achieve such feat.
• There is urgent need for the government to empower the affected conflict communities economically and socially to alleviate their suffering as a demonstration of solidarity to the plight of victims of insurgencies.
• That prevention is generally believed to be better and less expensive than cure. Apart from the high cost of remedying the destruction caused by conflict as exemplified in the damage to the society and human person in the form of collapse of critical infrastructures as a result of conflict, undermines accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs and stunted socio-economic development amongst others.

Conclusion

Participants thanked CISLAC with the support from NSRP for providing the platform for engagement. The process was acclaimed to be catalytic to strengthening the progress towards the Nigeria peace transformation agenda with various stakeholders, especially the current era of insurgency in the country. CSOs thanked responsive security institutions such as the DSS, NIS, NSCDC and FRSC to continue to increase visibility on the National Peace and Security Forum whilst the Police and Nigeria Army were charged to be more responsive.

Signed:

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
Abuja

Jaiye Gaskiya
Convener
Protest 2 Power Initiative
Abuja

Jemina Ariori
Coordinator
Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria
Abuja

Sister Rosemary Ukata-
Cordinator
Center for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI)
Abuja

WACSOF appoints Rafsanjani Acting Secretary General

By Chioma Blessing Kanu

The West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) has at its recent Executive Committee meeting held in Ghana appointed Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) as new Acting Secretary General to the Forum.

Rafsanjani, a human rights, anti-corruption, policy and legislative advocacy activist with interest in positive transformation of Nigeria and Africa at large is also the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Chairman Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Nigeria Coordinator of West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF); national contact person of Transparency International (TI), member of Coordinating Committee representing Sub-Africa region on Civil Society Coalition on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and currently a civil society delegate in the ongoing National Conference.

CSOs launch a network to address the plights of IDPs

By Augustine Erameh

In the wake of the Arab Spring that rocked the entire northern African region and led to effective leadership change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, majority of security pundits, political analysts across African regions have raised concerns about proliferation of small and light weapons and the dire spillover effects and impacts that this may eventually have on the entire continent. Consequently, almost every part of Africa currently experiences one form of conflict or another.

In recent times the Nigeria has witnessed worrying trends with an upsurge in the activities of pasturalist (Fulani Herdsmen) which has had very dire consequences across the North Central including Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and some parts of Kogi.

For instance, Youth Against Disaster Initiative (YADI) has confirmed that during the dry season, low feedstuff and low water in rivers would trigger an early movement of herds in search of pasture and water as early as December/January, thereby increasing the risk of conflicts between herdsmen and farmers; overgrazing and overcrowding settlements could further intensify conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the affected areas. “Communal clash has remained a persistent phenomenon between farmers and herdsmen across the country, especially during the dry season starting from November/December every year. Various Farmers-Herdsmen clashes in the country have resulted to serious socio-economic losses to the innocent individuals in the country,” the group said.

Also, devastating floods and boundary disputes affecting many communities have intensified forced displacement of citizens in almost every part of the country.

Apart from the above, the ongoing alarming attacks on innocent citizens and facilities by Boko Haram insurgents have increased the magnitude of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), overriding demand for a collective and coordinated response to address not just displacements but also the accompanying challenges and more importantly causes of these breakdown in security in the country. Recently, this among other challenges informed the decision of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Ford Foundation to organize one day civil society organisations for setting up a virtual network on Displaced Persons. The meeting aimed at establishing a network of CSOs working on IDPs related issues across the country; and developing a communication strategy for the network.

In order to achieve the underlined objectives, the event launched ‘Civil Society Organisation Network on IDPs’ with zonal coordinator across the six geo-political zones in the country including: Mr. Imran Abdulrahman, North Central; Dr. Usman Mohammed, North West; Mr. Ikekwoba Paul, South East; Mr. Usman Abubakar, North East; Mr. Imaobong Umoren, South South; and Mr. Okungunmi Cletus, South West.

Combating Financial Secrecy in Revenue Generation

By Kolawole Banwo

Recently, at international conference on Beyond Transparency: Oil and Crisis of Democratic Governance in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea organized by SocialAction in Abuja, a paper titled Fighting Secrecy in the Oil and Gas Sector: Assessing Existing Strategies and Future Alternatives presented by Dung Pam Sha, a Professor of Political Economy and Development Studies Office of Research and Development, University of Jos, revealed that secrecy as one of the unorthodox mechanisms that characterised extractive accumulation leading to loss of state revenues to private corporations and individuals.

In his paper, Prof. Sha described financial secrecy as “a practice where bankers assures clients’ of secrecy of their transactions no matter the situation, and compacts are arrived at the specified criminal penalties on those who break the secrecy.”

Also, financial secrecy has been described in the analysis of Tax Justice Network—whose preoccupation is to illuminate shady and hidden places, financial secrecy is manifested, as a refusal to share financial information with the legitimate authorities and bodies that need it such as to tax citizens appropriately, or enforce criminal laws.

While considering the nature of financial secrecy, Prof. Sha said secrecy in the conduct of national and international corporate and government operations involves non-disclosures of transactions; non-declaration of transactions, output, expenditures and profits; over-invoicing in business transactions; transfer pricing; under-declaration of taxes due to under-declaration of profits; repatriation of profits to oversee banks; and use of tax havens.

He said financial secrecy in conduct of State and corporate affairs must be interrogated and fought because it results in corruption; erodes development potentials; facilitates expropriation of surpluses by multinational corporations and state officials; and weakens state control over processes of accumulation.

Prof Sha further mentioned as part of the models and strategies for fighting secrecy to include: transparency in oil revenue declaration and payment to government; transparency in oil revenue spending by governments; transparency in declaration of assets by corporate units and individuals; research and publication of violations in the oil and gas sector; auditing to discover anomalies; advocacy to UN and similar fora creating democratic and transparent laws; capacity building for civil society organizations, media and workers unions working on transparency and accountability in the extractive industries; street protest at national and international forums by civil society.

He said secrecy can be fought beyond transparency in oil revenues through citizens-based electoral politics and a transparent electoral process that will throw up visionary leaders; enthronement of visionary and democratic leaders to control the state; enthronement of a democratic developmentalist state by visionary leaders; review of oil and gas laws to weaken and eliminate secrecy; and routinely check of oil and gas operations by civil society.

Western Corporations Gulp 43% of Nigeria’s Oil Export – SocialAction

By Abubakar Jimoh

As part of the efforts to address rising fraud in the oil and other extractive industry in Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea region of Africa, Social Action in collaboration with Gulf of Guinea Citizen Network (GGCN), Faculty of Environment Studies, York University, Canada and the New Centre for Social Research, recently organized a two-day international conference in Abuja.

The conference which was themed Beyond Transparency: Oil and Crisis of Democratic Governance in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea aimed at critiquing the transparency discourse based on political realities of the states in the region as well as the conditions in the site of extraction; identifying prospects for innovative synergies between the different transparency initiatives and extractive sector/economic development agendas in Africa so as to promote robust and coherent regulatory framework in turbulent political environments such as Nigeria; examining the interconnections between transparency in the oil sector democratization and human security regionally and globally, and; increasing access to information, through dissemination of conference outcomes, so as to improve citizens’ participation in transparent revenue distribution policy from Nigeria to other Gulf of Guinea countries.

In her keynote titled “Beyond Transparency and toward modern regulation of the private sector”, Prof. Sarah Bracking of the University of Manchester, UK, said the key challenges of moving to decent work and wellbeing in Africa are dependent on fundamental reforms to regulation of the financialised economy and that more transparency and knowledge can make both corporate and government more accountable as being sought for in the oil and extractive sector.

“Researches have shown that there is no automatic travel from more transparency or knowledge to more accountability, especially in absence of free press, weak education, where power is concentrated and democracy weak, and where inequality is extreme. But, where particularism and endemic corruption dominant, is a collective action problem it is not in the interests of actors to try and change the rules even if they know how damaging corruption is, but better to struggle to join in the culture of privilege,” she said.

Also, the Director of SocialAction, and Coordinator, Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network, GGCN, Dr. Isaac Osuoka recalled that in the years following the implementation of Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the reversal of the earlier development strides was accompanied by increasing dictatorship and mass improvement of citizens in many countries in Africa in particular, and the global south generally.

He said: “Part of the problem created for the SAP era was the near total destruction of then emerging manufacturing and agro-allied industries and the simultaneous intensification of exploitation of mineral resources. Other sectors of the economy have easily been neglected, leading to strong dependency on extractive industry activities, and tensions and protests from host communities.

“…The Gulf of Guinea countries have been commonly characterised by an inadequacy of democratic institutions. As a result, there has been poor accountability in the management of revenues accruing from the exploitation of natural resources in these countries. The bulk of the monies were stolen amidst opaque transactions involving states and corporations. At the national levels, standards regulating the exploitation of natural resources were both inadequate and poorly enforced. Host communities suffer considerable violations to their livelihoods, human rights, environment, and lives, without access to ready remedies or redress. In reality the extractive sectors have tended to exacerbate poverty in many of the countries in the region leading to the preponderance of the resources curse doctrine.”

According to Dr. Osuoka, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) was initiated by the Former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Tony Blair, primarily to address corruption in the petroleum and mining sectors being the desire of citizens in Africa and different parts of the world to make resources in states to be put to work for the people.

“The reports of NEITI and other bodies set up by government have exposed monumental infraction resulting in the dispossession of public treasury. In the case of Nigeria, we also take note of the report of the United Nations Environmental Programme which revealed that the impacts of oil pollution in Ogboniland (and other parts of the Niger Delta) are much worse than previously imagined.

He lamented that information available from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows the value of Nigeria’s petroleum exports in 2012 to be about $86 billion. Nearly half of the amount (43%) was collected by mostly western transnational oil corporations as their own take. “The specific details of the contractual arrangements between Nigeria and US or European companies, which allow about half of all the proceeds of oil and gas sales taken by companies is unknown to Nigerians. That is even more worrisome considering that the Nigerian government may not be in a position to determine the actual volume of petroleum produced or exported by the companies.

Similarly, in a paper titled Fighting Secrecy in the Oil and Gas Sector: Assessing Existing Strategies and Future Alternatives present at conference, Prof. Dung Pam Sha noted that primitive accumulation of capital is often conducted in unorthodox ways mechanism that characterize extractive accumulation. Secrecy in the operation of the oil and gas sector is preferred by hegemonic forces such as transnational corporations, state elites and the domestic firms for ease of illegal collection of sovereign resources for personal use.

“Secrecy involved in involves non-disclosures, non-declaration, over-invoicing, non-payment of taxes, repatriation of profits to oversee banks and in tax havens etc. Secrecy leads to loss of state revenues to private corporations and individual and as result, the welfare and development process of host nations are negatively affected,” he said.

At the conference experts noted that Nigeria has made positive strides with the institutionalization of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), audit reports by the semi-independent body, which expose widespread sharp practices in the sector, have not resulted in any clear changes in policy and practices in the oil sector.

CISLAC Cautions Houses of Assembly against Arbitrary use of Impeachment Powers

PRESS RELEASE

CISLAC Cautions Houses of Assembly against Arbitrary use of Impeachment Powers

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) notes with great concern the sudden resurgence in the spate of impeachments and threats spreading across the political landscape and calls on lawmakers in the states Houses of Assembly not to abuse their powers of impeachment or deploy it arbitrarily.

CISLAC had always been and continues to advocate for strong legislatures with capacity to make laws for peace, security and good governance at both federal and state levels and hold the executive accountable through effective oversight and representation, including invoking the power of impeachment where the need arises, in a transparent and responsible manner to serve the interest of justice fairness and the electorate and not vindictively or to score cheap political points.

We are however concerned that the ongoing spate of impeachments may not pass the test of credibility, popularity and rationality, if closely examined. Without prejudice to the right, duties and powers of state legislatures to impeach erring executives, we are worried that many of the reasons invoked are either belated or flimsy. Others are indulgent and ridiculous with the procedures flawed and hurried in a manner that casts doubts as to the motives behind the actions.

CISLAC wonders why legislators would overlook acts of corruption or having failed to discharge their functions of oversight effectively or worse still, benefitted from such corrupt practices and looked the other way, suddenly awake retroactively to exhume such corrupt practices and use them as allegations for which a governor should be impeached. We consider this an indictment of the concerned legislators, an abuse of power and process and a betrayal of the trust reposed in them by the electorate.

We wish to note that with the spate of insecurity on some parts of our nation, which is spreading gradually, avoidable impeachment of executive governors few months to the end of their tenure may not be the most progressive actions law makers can take at this point of our national development. We are convinced that precious legislative time can be deployed into more constructive and people-impacting interventions.

We call on  members of states Houses of Assembly to concentrate on using their positions to promote community development, peace-building and citizens’ welfare through effective oversight and representation rather than engage in issues that could further polarizes the people, heat up the polity, create acrimony and fuel intolerance and conflict

We also call on them to channel their energies to promoting good governance and peaceful coexistence by committing themselves to performing their legislative functions putting the interest of the electorate first and above selfish and parochial interests. They must act with sincerity, integrity and uphold their independence and the principle of fairness and justice.

We remind them that they are accountable to the electorate and must uphold due process, the rule of law and constitutionalism in the discharge of their duties. They must discharge their responsibilities with the hidgets sense of responsibility.

Signed

Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director of CISLAC