Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has described Nigeria’s suspension from the EGMONT Group as a major set back to the Federal Government’s fight against corruption.
The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units is an informal network of 156 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).
National FIUs collect information on suspicious or unusual financial activity from the financial industry and other entities or professions required to report transactions suspected of being money laundering or terrorism financing.
In Nigeria, Dogara has, however, assured that the National Assembly is working towards ensuring that the suspension placed on Nigeria is lifted within the shortest time possible.
He said this when he received the Director General of Inter Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA) in West Africa, a unit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Col. Adama Coulibaly, who was accompanied by the Director of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Francis Usani, in his office, yesterday.
Dogara stressed that Nigeria’s suspension was a rude shock because the All Progressives Congress (APC) government is committed to the fight against corruption.
He said the fight against graft cannot be successful without support and cooperation from other countries because, in most cases, proceeds of corruption were taken out of the country and kept in other jurisdictions.
“No nation can survive as an island; it will take the collective cooperation by agencies in different countries to combat both terrorism and corruption, and, unfortunately, we are facing the two in Nigeria, with Boko Haram violence in the North East.
“It is impossible to fight terrorism and corruption without strong legal framework,” he said.
Dogara further said two bills on anti-terrorism and anti-money laudering and mutual assistance on reparation of corruption proceeds pending before the House will soon be passed into law.
He explained that the House is yet to pass the bill seeking to grant total autonomy to the NFIU, as forwarded from the Senate, because there is the need to meet with key stakeholders and players, to know their expectations so as to avoid Nigeria’s expulsion from the group.
Speaking earlier, Coulibaly said he came to Nigeria on advocacy visit, on the hosting of GIABA statutory meetings slated for November, in Nigeria, and to assess Nigeria’s application to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).