Nigeria Commended for AML/CFT Leadership Role in West Africa

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The Nigerian Government has been commended for its commitment and role in combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in the country. This was made known at the opening of the 2022 West Africa Compliance Summit organized by the Inter- Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on Monday, 18th July, 2022 at the NAF Conference Center, Abuja.

In his opening remarks, the Director General of GIABA, Justice Kimelabalou Aba who was represented by the Group’s Director of Evaluation and Compliance, Dr. Buno Nduka gave the commendation. He said that Nigeria has taken concrete steps towards the implementation of robust anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in the country. He highlighted the recent passage into law of three important legislation to address strategic deficiencies identified in the country’s 2nd round mutual evaluation report.

He also congratulated Nigeria for winning two awards relating to its mentorship role and contributions to enhancing the qualities of Mutual Evaluation and Follow-Up reports at GIABA’s 37th Plenary held in Senegal from May 29 to June 3, 2022.

He noted that these milestones are testaments to Nigeria’s leadership role in the AML/CFT sector in the region.

He however expressed concerns over emerging trends in terrorism financing in the West African region. He therefore called for synergy and collaboration among stakeholders.

“These will no doubt, add to the current AML/CFT implementation challenges in the region. Thus, there is need for greater coordination and synergy between national authorities and private sector operators to enhance awareness of, and provide collective responses to the emerging ML/TF threats as well as leverage on the opportunities provided by technologies for effective implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures.”

He added that the aim of the Summit is to promote awareness on emerging money laundering and terrorist risks and provide a platform for participants to share experiences and foster cooperation and collaboration toward effective implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and GIABA National Correspondent for Nigeria, Mr Tukur Moddibbo Ribadu, who was represented by NFIU’s Associate Director of Analysis and Compliance, Mr. Mohammed Jiya, said that the theme of the 2022 Summit: ‘Current and Emerging Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Issues’ was important and timely considering the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI) which listed three countries from the West African region out of the world’s top ten most terrorized countries.

He stated that the Summit’s objective, to provide a platform for participants to share experiences and foster cooperation and collaboration towards the protection and prevention of FIs and DNFBPs from ML and TF, as well as to promote awareness on emerging money laundering and terrorist risks, and share best practices in this regard, was needed in order to improve upon AML/CFT compliance in West Africa.

He also used the medium to stress the NFIU’s commitment to curb Financial Terrorism within the region.

“At NFIU, since taking over the leadership of the Forum of Financial Intelligence Units of GIABA Member states (FFIU-GMS), we have taken steps that will enable effective sharing of information and intelligence to counter Money Laundering and Financial Terrorism which includes the Development of West African FIU Information Exchange (WAFFIEX) and Robust Centralized Crime Database System (CCDS) on ML/TF for West African countries which will soon become fully operational” he said.

Among dignitaries present at the Summit was Mr Buhari Aminu Isah of the Central Bank of Nigeria who also applauded the effort made by GIABA and noted the apex bank’s readiness to collaborate and offer necessary assistance whenever the need arises.