The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu on Wednesday inaugurated a committee to reposition the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
A statement by EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said the committee which has members drawn from law enforcement, financial and regulatory agencies is chaired by Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, a former Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA.
He said members include: Mr. Chidi Chukwuka from the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC); Mr. Bamanga Bello, Head of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and Hajia Jamila Yusuf of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Others are: Mr. Udofia Akpan Obot, a former deputy director, CBN, while Mrs Joke Liman of the EFCC is to serve as secretary
Uwujaren said the inauguration, comes on the heels of the recent suspension of the NFIU from membership of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
He said Magu charged the committee to take a holistic look at the mandate and operations of the NFIU with a view to coming up with proposals to reposition the agency for greater efficiency.
He noted that members of the committee are persons with rich experience in Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism.
Magu reminded them that membership of the Egmont Group was critical to Nigeria’s effort to tackle money laundering, and monitoring of financial flows within and outside the country.
He charged the Committee to among others, address the concern of the Egmont Group, by providing the necessary frameworks needed “to coordinate the effective process of amendment of section 1(2)(c) of the EFCC Act.
He said this is to expressly reflect NFIU as an autonomous unit under EFCC so as to provide legal basis or clarity on its operational independence from the EFCC.
The EFCC statement said, “The Committee has one month to submit its report.”
Daily Trust gathered that the NFIU was suspended on 5 July, 2017 at the plenary of the Heads of FIUs which took place in Macao.
An EFCC source said, contrary to claims in some quarters, the decision to suspend the NFIU was largely premised on the failure to address the Egmont Group’s concern regarding the autonomy of the FIU.
It said the Egmont group specifically wants Section 1(2)(c) of the EFCC Establishment Act which makes the EFCC the designated Financial Intelligence Unit to be amended, and create the NFIU as an autonomous unit under the EFCC.
It clarified that the Egmont Group is not asking for the creation of a standalone agency removed from the EFCC.
“It is only demanding for greater autonomy for the NFIU in terms of having its funds and control over its staff,” the source said.