On the — of November 2019, We the People held a dialogue session in Port Harcourt, Rivers state to present and validate findings from its 2019 Natural Resource Benchmarking Exercise. The benchmarking exercise assess Nigeria’s performance against 12 Natural Resource Charter (NRC) precepts with a view to identifying lapses in the extractive governance decision making process. The Charter is a set of principles for governments and societies on how best to harness the opportunities created by extractive resources for development. It provides certain minimum standards and frameworks which are recommended for implementation to provides maximum benefits from natural resources.

We the People researched Precepts 5 which examines the systems in place for ensuring that resource affected communities benefit maximally from natural resources and the negatives effects are mitigated; and Precept 11 which studies the extent which oil companies operate in line with standards that ensure the protection of the environment, participation of affected communities and transfer of benefits.

Speaking at the validation session, Executive Director of We the People, Ken Henshaw stated that there has not been significant improvement in both precepts since 2012 when the first version of the benchmarking exercise was carried out. According to him, “Nigeria still falls way below the recommended standards of natural resource governance. In fact, in some respect, there have been some significant roll backs. For instance, the refusal of the President to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill has further complicated the quest to ensure that the sector is governed properly. Similarly, the continued delay in the passage of the host communities’ component of the same Bill is making it impossible for communities to have greater stake in the management of oil resources”

The meeting brought together experts and stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria including community groups, oil sector workers, media practitioners, civil society organizations, trade unionists, environmental groups, legal practitioners, etc.

Full findings of the 2019 Natural Resource Benchmarking Exercise will be launched in early 2020.