25 Nigerian journalists from various media platforms are interacting with top oil and gas experts at the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Lagos to examine critical issues that will encourage greater accountability and transparency in the management of the nation’s natural resources.
Amidst robust engagement, participants in the 10-day workshop titled: Master Class in Oil and Gas Reporting are digging deep into the extractive industries to identify the issues bedeviling the sector. And from the amount of knowledge shared so far, there appears to be many.
For instance, experts like Barrister Israel Aye, Managing Partner, Sterling Partnership of Energy, and Akimbode Olufemi, Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Right Action (ERA) have attributed the challenges in the sector to policies and regulations supposedly meant to guide petroleum operations.
A former financial officer of the NLNG and CEO, ME Consulting, Victor Eromosele made a case for the retention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which he insisted does not require wholesale privatization.
Also, Toyin Akinosho, the Publisher of “Africa Oil and Gas Report,” assert that licensing and allocating rights to extract oil and gas has suffered hiccups due, partly to inter-partnership squabbles or demanding exorbitant farm-in fields a few months to the second deadline for the commencement of production from the Marginal Fields 2003.
The workshop, which will last between June 20 and July 1, 2016, is a collaborative effort by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) in collaboration with Premium Times and the Wole Soyinka Institute for Investigative Journalism.
NRGI said the workshop is designed to enhance the capacity of journalists to provide professional and balanced reportage of the oil & gas industry. At the end of the course, they expect participants to have the knowledge and skills to research, write, and produce stories that will increase accountability and transparency in the extractive sector in Nigeria, and stimulate public debate.
According to NRGI media capacity development associate, Toyin Akinniyi:
“Knowledge modules will take participants through the Natural Resource Charter benchmarking framework and 12 precepts for evaluating governance across the decision chain.”
Also, the Vice Chancellor of the Pan-Atlantic University, Prof Juan Elegido, said the essence of programme is due to the global turbulence in the oil and gas industry. He believes journalists should have an understanding of the extractive industry to enhance transparency, accountability and good governance in the sector.
The journalists will undergo three-month mentorships following the course to bolster their ability to closely cover oil and gas governance.