The Federal Government said, yesterday, it conducted a major analytical operation that was focused on individuals financing the Boko Haram terrorist group and its affiliates in the country.
The government, which disclosed this at the opening session of a five-day Compliance Summit organized by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA, said it had so far requested from 28 countries more information about the suspected terrorist financiers.
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 of 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 described the summit, which has the theme, ‘’Current and Emerging Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Issues,” as apt and timely, noting that three of the top 10 countries in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index, GTI, were from West Africa.
It will be recalled that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, had last September insisted that the investigation to unravel those behind the activities of insurgents in the country had reached an advanced stage.
He said the government would at the appropriate time, disclose their identities through a judicial process that would entail 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.
In his remarks at the summit, the Director-General of GIABA, Mr. Aba Kimelabalou, commended Nigeria’s leadership role in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa.
He stressed that recent steps the country took, including the passage into law of three important legislation to address identified strategic deficiencies, demonstrated Nigeria’s commitments in the war against the illicit financial flow.
He said the organization adopted twelve mutual evaluation reports that indicated that significant gaps existed, especially with respect to national cooperation and coordination, supervisory regime and the implementation of preventive measures by reporting institutions.
Mr. Kimelabalou said the gaps adversely impacted the assessed countries’ level of performance, particularly on their policies and coordination, preventive measures, legal persons and arrangements, beneficial ownership, as well as 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.