Nigerian govt releases list of real owners of oil companies, licences

NEWS DIGEST – The federal government, in collaboration with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), has released a beneficial register which contains the list of the real owners of oil assets and companies.

A website (bo.neiti.gov.ng) which contained the list was unveiled in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Waziri Adio, NEITI’s executive secretary, the website contains a list of the owners of 270 licences in the mining sector, and the owners of 61 assets and 56 companies in the oil and gas sector.

He also said the register, which would be free for anyone to access through electronic means, would continuously be updated as more information becomes available and would periodically be upgraded to allow for better user-interface.

“Legitimate businesses and most businesses also stand to benefit from knowing who they are doing business with, from reduced exposure to reputational risks, from having a level-playing field, and from improved trust in their operating environment.

“So let me say this upfront: this beneficial ownership register is not against businesses. Rather, it is for the good of businesses as it is for the good of countries, and it is for the good of civil groups, the media, and individuals. So there is nothing for anyone, especially anyone engaged in legitimate businesses, to be jittery about.

“In a short while, the beneficial ownership register for the extractive sector in Nigeria will go live. At the touch of a button, anyone with internet access can find out, for free, the owners and the ownership structure of extractive assets that are in production in Nigeria. These are the assets covered within the scope of the NEITI audits.

“In this free electronic register, you will find the owners of 270 licences in the mining sector, and the owners 61 assets and 56 companies in the oil and gas sector. The register will continuously be updated as more information becomes available and will periodically be upgraded to allow for better user-interface.”

Adio said the register is in fulfilment of the commitment that President Muhammadu Buhari made at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, and fulfilment of Nigeria’s commitment under the Open Government Partnership and to the EITI.