NFIU, others seek unity for risk assessment project
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has charged all regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the country to work together towards achieving the set objectives of the National Risks Assessment (NRA) project initiated in 2013.
The Director, NFIU, Francis Usani, in his presentation at a two-day stakeholders sensitisation workshop on the National Risk Assessment on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Nigeria, in Abuja, said the workshop was organised to afford various regulatory agencies the opportunity to assess the current parameters used for the conduct of Mutual Evaluation Exercise (MEE).
Usani pointed out that the workshop is for selected regulatory and law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, urging them to understand the attendant challenges, while making concerted efforts to surmount them within the 18-months time line.
According to him, there is a need to sensitise the various regulatory agencies in the NRA project on data collection and research methodologies, to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant data, stressing that despite the challenges the country faced during the first round of Inter-governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), mutual evaluation was rated the most technically compliant country within the West African sub-region.
This workshop could not have come earlier than now, especially when the NRA project is geared towards the second phase, that is, data collection and self- evaluation stage.
There is the need to remind ourselves of our expectations, and we must take an overview of the Nigerian financial system within the perspective of the 2008 Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) of Nigeria and the implication of the report on the country’s AML/CFT regime,” he said.
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, who was represented by Head Public Affairs, Osita Nwaja, said it is important to understand the risk that money laundering and terrorist financing pose to our collective health as a nation.
There is the need to remind ourselves of our expectations, and we must take an overview of the Nigerian financial system within the perspective of the 2008 Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) of Nigeria and the implication of the report on the country’s AML/CFT regime.
He noted that the workshop would offer us the opportunity for frank deliberation in identifying, assessing and understanding the nature and threats crime pose to our individual agencies and to our collective efforts in the fight against money laundering and financing.
The Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of the Federation, Abdullahi Yola, who was represented by Mr. Olushola Mooh said, terrorism and money laundering are criminal acts which are inextricably linked.
According to him, there is a great need for deep appreciation of the techniques for combating terrorism and money laundering, which would require the adoption of proactive approaches to investigation and prosecution through inter-agency co-ordination and co-operation.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Abubakar Magaji, represented by Musa Idi noted that Nigeria is wrongly perceived internationally as a country where issues of money laundering are handled with levity, noting that such impression needed to be addressed and the present government is doing everything possible to checkmate financial crimes and terrorist challenges.