From Joseph Inokotong, Abuja
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has disclosed that Nigeria’s recent second round mutual evaluation by Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) was deficient in many areas in the final report.
The evaluation of Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CFT) framework, and its effectiveness, by GIABA was observed to be deficient in many areas, while it noted that significant progress has been made.
Consequently, the country was given just 18 months to implement an Action Plan in line with recommended actions in the Report.
Ogbeni Aregbesola stated this yesterday in Abuja in his opening address at the 3-day Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) capacity building workshop for the Ministry of Interior and its Agencies.
The minister pledged to continue to provide the necessary policy oversight to ensure that the Ministry, the Corps and the Services perform optimally, in order to meet their obligations as members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing.
‘Nigeria recently went through a 2nd round Mutual Evaluation of its AML/CFT framework, and its effectiveness, which was carried out by GIABA. While noting that we have made significant progress, Nigeria’s AML/CFT regime was observed to be deficient in many areas in the final report.
‘The report noted that Nigeria’s understanding of risks leaves some key threats and vulnerabilities insufficiently explored and analysed. Consequently, we have been given just 18 months to implement an Action Plan in line with recommended actions in the report,’ said OgbeniAregbesola.
He noted that this calls for a greater need for a strategic national approach by policy, regulatory and law enforcement agencies towards addressing the identified deficiencies in Nigeria’s AML/CFT regime, and therefore solicited the cooperation of all in this regard.
According to the Minister of Interior, Nigeria is under obligation to comply with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, (GIABA) on strengthening her AML/CFT regime.
The workshop, he explained has become imperative as one of the measures of developing and enhancing collective capacities to more effectively tackle money laundering and terrorist financing in Nigeria.
He pointed out that criminals use various techniques and mechanisms to obscure the ownership of illicitly acquired assets and; introducing illegally obtained funds into the stream of legitimate commerce allows criminals to profit from their illegal activities, taints the financial system and erodes public trust in the integrity of the system.
The Director/CEO, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Mr Hamman Tukur said it is difficult to fight those one does not know, hence the need to identify the enemy through interagency cooperation in intelligence gathering.
He called on the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) and other agencies of government to work together in combating money laundering and financial terrorism.