The Federal Government has claimed to have carried out a significant analytical operation that was aimed at identifying those who were supporting the Boko Haram terrorist organisation and its local affiliates.
The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, or GIABA, organised a five-day Compliance Summit. At the summit’s opening session, the government announced that it had so far asked 28 countries for more information about the alleged financiers of terrorism.
The Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, Mr Mohammed Jiya, added that the government received responses from countries, including Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana and Niger.
The NFIU boss said: “The intelligence report submitted to the government led to the formation of inter-agency operation, which resulted in degrading Boko Haram activities.
“I am happy to intimate this gathering that the Chad platform on terrorism financing, last week, expanded its membership to 11 countries, active members as Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger and Benin; and observers as Ghana, Guinea and the Central Africa Republic.
“Meetings will now be held every three months with the Chad Basin and Sahel countries. This new synergy is good for both experience sharing and operational success of security agencies.”
He noted that three of the top 10 countries in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, GTI, were from West Africa and characterised the summit, which has the theme “Current and Emerging Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Issues,” as appropriate and urgent.
It will be recalled that in September of last year, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, stated that the investigation to identify individuals responsible for the insurgents’ operations in the nation was well along.
According to him, the government would reveal their identities when it was suitable through a legal procedure that would involve prosecution.
“The position, as it stands, is that investigation has reached an advanced stage, and the government will make a statement in that direction in due course,” he said.
Director-General of GIABA, Mr Aba Kimelabalou, praised Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa during his speech at the conference.
He emphasised that recent actions were taken by the nation, such as the signing into law of three crucial pieces of legislation to address found strategic weaknesses, which showed Nigeria’s commitment to the fight against illicit financial flow.
According to him, the group accepted twelve mutual evaluation reports that showed there were serious flaws, particularly in terms of national coordination and collaboration, the supervision system, and the use of preventive actions by reporting institutions.
The deficiencies, according to Mr. Kimelabalou, had a negative effect on the performance levels of the analysed countries, particularly in the areas of their policies and coordination, preventive measures, legal persons and arrangements, beneficial ownership, and financial intelligence.
“The primary objective of this 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 towards effective implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures,” he added.