Senate may pass NFIA Bill today

Members of the Nigerian senate at a plenary

• Reps’ panel summons NEMA DG for alleged misuse of N13b
• Govt raises alarm over plot to discredit anti-graft war, PACAC

The Senate yesterday moved closer to granting full autonomy for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIA), an issue for which Nigeria is now on suspension from the Egmont Group.

After the debate on the general principles of the bill, which is being processed to facilitate autonomy for the NFIA as demanded by the Egmont Group, the Senate directed its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to submit a report to it today for final consideration and passage.

The Bill was referred to the committee for further legislative work and to be submitted to the upper chamber within 24 hours. The Senate hinged the accelerated consideration of the Bill on the need to ensure that it is passed before members embark on yearly recess on Thursday.

In his lead debate, sponsor of the bill and Chairman of the committee, Chukwuka Utazi, said the proposal seeks to make the unit, which is currently domiciled under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the backbone of the anti-graft agency, an autonomous and independent body.

In another development, a House of Representatives panel has summoned the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, over an expenditure of over N13 billion in one month.

The committee on NEMA, chaired by Jibrin Santumari (APC, Borno), said Maihaja must appear before it tomorrow, Thursday, after evading its invitations on three occasions.

The committee threatened to issue an arrest warrant against the NEMA boss if he fails to appear before it. Meanwhile, the Federal Government has raised an alarm over purported plans to discredit government’s anti-corruption efforts and the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC).

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the PACAC’s letter-head and stamp as well as the signature of its chairman had been forged and used to con people within and outside the country.

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the President has not mandated PACAC to investigate and recommend for payment some outstanding contract debts, as contained in the letter in question, neither has the Federal Government approved disbursement of $850 million in the 2017 budget for payment of the so-called external contract debt.”

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EFCCLai MohammedNemaNFIA
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