The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has faulted the 2021 Mutual Assessment Evaluation on Nigeria released by Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, an agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), saying the report was “outdated and based on a 2019 country evaluation report which is literally stale and irrelevant today.”
In its report, the GIABA had said that N18bn was being laundered through the nation’s financial system annually by a terrorist group, the Islamic State West Africa Province.
The report also said “the nation’s law enforcement agencies lacked adequate insight into Boko Haram and ISWAP’s international reach, noting that the law enforcement agencies did not prioritise money laundering investigations.”
However, the NFIU Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, in a statement on Monday, claimed “Nigeria’s counter-terrorism financing efforts have practically moved forward since then.”
He said, “It is to the knowledge of the international community, our populace and the formal media organisations that several arrests were made through the ongoing Operation Service Wide approved by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defense Intelligence Agency. The exercise is continuing and far from being over.
“In addition, all funding of violence from all sections of the country are being evidently analyzed and reported to all relevant authorities according to law.
“It’s true that recently, Nigeria fell a victim of illicit financial flows but overt and far-reaching efforts are being executed by government to stem the bad practice.”
The agency further said that “the ECOWAS body released its report to justify putting Nigeria’s financial system under an enhanced review process alongside other countries in the Sahel.”