NNPC Ltd. Not Hiding Behind PIA To Frustrate Disclosure, Accountability

By Adewole Kehinde

“Transparency is for those who carry out public duties and exercise public power. Privacy is for everyone else.” Glenn Greenwald

I received a press statement from the Media Advocacy West Africa (MAWA) Foundation and Divine Era Development and Social Rights (DEDASRI) claiming that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is hiding behind PIA to frustrate disclosure and accountability.

I am surprised that its partner Falana and Falana Chambers could claim ignorance of the information sought is exempted from being compellable or released/disclosed by virtue of Section 15(1) (a-c) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, which provides that:

“15(1) – A public institution shall deny an application for information that contains:

(a) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person or business where such trade secrets or information are proprietary, privileged, or confidential, or where disclosure of such trade secrets or information may cause harm to the interests of the third party, provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed as preventing a person or business from consenting to disclosure.

(b) information, the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with the contractual or other negotiations of a third party; and

(c) proposals and bids for any contract, grant, or agreement, including information which if it were disclosed would frustrate procurement or give an advantage to any person.”

I want to remind the group that their requests relate to private commercial transactions and agreements between the NNPC Limited client and a third party, which are not covered by the FOI as indicated above.

Nigerians should not forget that the GCEO of NNPC Ltd., Mr Mele Kyari, has continued to reiterate his commitment to conducting the business and operations of the company transparently, to place it on the path of profitability.

Since he assumed office, Kyari has taken calculated steps to ensure more openness in the activities of the company, and the Transparency, Accountability, and Performance Excellence (TAPE) agenda has brought about greater transparency and accountability in NNPC Limited’s management of Nigerian oil and gas revenues to date.

So far, some of the successes recorded under the TAPE agenda include the publication of NNPC Limited’s Audited Financial Statements (AFS) from 2018 to 2022.

The Transparency, Accountability, and Performance Excellence Agenda has brought a lot of commendations and encouragement for the NNPC Limited leadership to do better in the coming years.

It is no longer news that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI), a multi-stakeholder coalition that promotes extractive transparency and accountability in over 50 countries, commended the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, for honouring his commitment to promote and deepen the culture of transparency and accountability in the company.

In line with the company’s commitment to becoming more accountable, transparent, and driven by performance excellence, NNPC Limited has continued to sustain effective communication with stakeholders through the MFOR and other reports published on its website and in national dailies.

 

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters via 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com