Over 25 Nigerian journalists from various media platforms in the print and electronic arms of the oil Industry spread across the country just concluded a 10-day stakeholders meeting with top oil and gas experts at the Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Lagos and they have called for reforms in the Nigeria oil sector.
The gathering was to examine critical issues which will encourage greater accountability and transparency in the management of the nation’s natural resources.
Amidst intellectual discourse and 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.
Experts such as Barrister Israel Aye, Managing Partner- Sterling Partnership of Energy, and Akinbode 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.
In the same vein, Toyin Akinosho, publisher of “Africa Oil and Gas Report,” asserts 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 started on June 20 and ended on July 1, 2016, is a brainchild of 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 which 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 the programme was to address 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 a three-month mentorship following the course to bolster their ability to closely cover and objectively report the oil and gas sector.