Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has said the Federal Government will cooperate fully with the United States Government including issuing an Executive Order to forestall a repeat of the massive email fraud and money laundering that led to the arrest of 80 persons, 77 of whom are Nigerians.
Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said this when he appeared on a live television programme yesterday.
Garba, who said it was unfair to paint every Nigerian with the same brush, admitted the arrest was damaging to Nigeria’s image, hence the decision to collaborate with the National Assembly to come up with new laws that will block some of the loopholes that were being exploited by some of fraudulent Nigerians to embarrass the country.
“This is a double damage on every citizen of Nigeria, is a big scare on all of us who go out of this country and are seen in this image that these our brothers have created.
“We will cooperate with international organizations, the government will generate and ask for new laws from the National Assembly and there will be new executive orders that will block some of these loopholes that are being exploited by some of our fellow country men to go out there and embarrass and blacklist the country,” Shehu said.
On the specific reaction of the Federal Government on the burst of the FBI since it touches everyone including the President, he said: “Like I said earlier, this administration will work with all nations around the globe to fight criminality. If Nigerians are involved in this thing, well hard luck to them. The President will not stand in the way of the justice system. Every citizen that travels out of this country are expected to obey the laws of their host country. President Muhammadu Buhari is not one to excuse Nigerians from the laws of countries in which they reside.
“Therefore, you will expect a more vigorous engagement with National Assembly. The laws will have to change, this has got to be tackled and if it will take executive orders, this will be strengthened very rapidly.”
On if there were moves to ensure not all Nigerians are painted with the same brush since the arrest bothers on reputation, Shehu said: “I think every person with a modicum of common sense knows that the action of few Nigerians is not the action of all Nigerians. We are 200 million plus in the country and you are talking about 80 Nigerians in this case, they will face the justice system, if the Nigerian government is expected to cooperate in anyway, extradition, if it meets the requirement of our laws, they will be assisted to ensure they face justice in that country.
“Nigerians are hardworking people all over the world, there are millions of our citizens out there earning legitimate living, they don’t deserve to be so tarnished.”
He confirmed there was direct communication between Nigeria and American government on the incident being termed the largest online fraud in the US history.
“Yes, the diaspora commission is there and the Nigerian government has taken position on this matter, it is cooperation all the way.”