Nigerian civil society mission to Ghana July 2011 - Communiqué

Source: CISLAC
Date: 27 Jul 2021

Communiqué issued at the end of a civil society mission to Ghana on the extractive sector

Accra - Ghana

Sunday July 17 - Friday July 22, 2022

Introduction

A five-member Civil Society delegation undertook an Advocacy and experience-sharing visit to Ghana from July 17 to July 22, 2011, during which they met with a variety of stakeholders actively involved in promoting Extractive Transparency in Ghana.

Undertaken under the auspices of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from Oxfam Novib, the delegation met with senior government officials, dozens of representatives of Civil Society Organizations and the media as well as Human Rights lawyers working on rights violations in the Extractive sector. In particular, they met with officials of the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GEITI), the Minerals Commission, and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). Other groups met included West Africa civil society institute and PWYP Africa coordinator.

Members of the Nigerian delegation were the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani; the Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Ms Funke Olaode of THISDAY Newspaper; Ms. Faith Nwadishi, the Coordinator of Publish What You Pay (PWYP), Nigeria; and Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu , Vice President of Transparency in Nigeria (TIN).

The Mission to Ghana is the fourth is in the series of such missions, coming after similar visits to Sierra Leone, Niger Republic and Liberia.

Objectives:

The overall objective of the mission was to enhance an understanding of the extractive industry sector in Ghana and share experience with stakeholders on their involvements, roles, challenges, prospects, successes and future plans in the expectation that it would enrich the experiences of Nigerian civil society actors and enhance effectiveness in engaging the sector in Nigeria. In particular, specific objectives of the mission were to:

• Interface with relevant civil society organizations in Ghana to share experiences and ideas for more effective engagement with other stakeholders, particularly Governments and private sector actors;

• Meet with relevant and appropriate Ghanaian Government institutions and agencies to dialogue on challenges and learn best practice examples;

• Engage with the relevant Parliamentary committees and individual members of Parliament for their perspectives on the issues; and

• Engage with the Media to compare notes in the role and challenges that media organizations and professions face in reporting the extractive sector and promoting transparency in the sector.

Observations:

The Mission observed as follows:

• Given that crude oil was recently discovered in Ghana and that Nigeria is also making serious efforts to exploit its solid minerals, both countries have a lot to learn from each other as each is embarking on a journey that the other had already undertaken based on Ghana’s long years of mining activities and Nigeria’s considerable experience of exploiting crude oil.

• Both Nigeria and Ghana share many similarities and challenges, particularly the fact that the resources from the extractive sectors do not appear to have significantly uplifted their citizenry from poverty due to high levels of corruption and other challenges. It will therefore be necessary for the citizens and governments of both countries to work together to find common solutions to these common problems.

• The efforts of the Ghana EITI to establish community information centres in rural communities were commendable as they provide an avenue for rural dwellers to find out how revenues from the minerals extracted from their communities are being spent and managed. They noted that such efforts were worthy of emulation by Nigeria.

• But the processes for policy-formulation and law-making in Ghana do not provide adequate opportunities for civil society organizations and ordinary citizens as critical stakeholders to make structured inputs into the processes.

• Despite the challenges which confront them, civil society organizations and the media can play very important roles in ensuring equity, transparency, and accountability in both countries.

• There is clearly a need for increased regional collaboration among state and non-state actors to ensure more effective delivery of the dividends of extractive resources for the people in the sub-region as the issues to be addressed are very similar.

  • Recommendations:*

• In view of the challenges posed by poverty and illiteracy to a significant number of the population in both countries, there is an urgent need for the government and other stakeholders to adopt effective tools of communication and information dissemination to reach the marginalized and disadvantaged sections of the their societies.

• Besides routine reporting to sensitize stakeholders, journalists should also embark on investigative reporting to dig up relevant information that may otherwise never come to light, especially information which reveal corruption, abuse of power, misuse of public funds or resources, wrong exercise of discretion, poor judgment, etc.

• Media practitioners should improve their technical capacity to understand and report issues relating to the extractive sector.

• Governments in both countries and indeed across the sub-region should recommit themselves to using mineral and other resources of their countries for the upliftment of their people.

• Civil society organizations in the sub-region should create platforms and structures to facilitate deeper networking among themselves across the sub-region.

• Civil society organizations should embark on capacity-building programmes such training workshop, seminars and other such activities for stakeholders especially on environmental and human rights protection.

• Efforts should be made to organize regular exchanges and interactions which bring together governments, companies, citizens and resource rich countries, to facilitate collaboration and sharing of best practices in resource utilization that will improve the lives of African citizens.

CISLAC thanks Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng an EITI Board member ,GEITI member and Director of WACAM- Ghana for facilitating this visit.

• Issued and signed by:

Auwal I.Musa(Rafsanjani)

Executive Director

CISLAC