Home Feature Govt agencies’ seeks cooperation of NPOs on fight against terrorism financing, money laundering
Feature - February 12, 2024

Govt agencies’ seeks cooperation of NPOs on fight against terrorism financing, money laundering

 

Stanley Ihedigbo

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering & Terrorism Financing in West Africa (GIABA), have called for collaboration and cooperation with Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs) on the fight against terrorism financing  and money laundering in Nigeria.

Speaking at a worshop organized by Spaces For Change (S4C), in partnership with Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) and Greenacre, a United Kingdom based firm, the agencies’ representatives explained the consequences of money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, as well as related crimes that undermine the financial sector and national security.

They added that money laundering and terrorism financing activity in one country can have serious adverse effects across borders and even globally.

The keynote speaker, Ex-Director of Evaluation and Compliance, (GIABA), Dr. Buno Nduka, commended the worshop and said that the essence it  was to bring together all stakeholders that are involved in assisting the NPOs to ensure, they are not exploited by criminals for the purpose of terrorist financing and money laundering.

He added that, there is international practice through which was prescribed as the Financial Action Task Force (FATE), requires measures every NPOs should operates.

“This international standard is known as Recommendations 8 (R8), which means that NPOs should be assessed to know ones that are at risk for terrorist financing and every country supposed to  undertake risk management. Nigeria has taken steps and they are able to identify ten categories of process that can be identified as FATF NPOs in Nigeria . Based on that the country and it’s institutions are supposed to take some measures include what we called risk based approach in monitoring in term of capacity building for various stakeholders and competent of the regulators , as well as others. The NPOs themselves will be able to know the application in respect of compliance in the international standard,” he said.

Director and Senior Consultant, Greenacre Group UK , Mr. Ben Evans, said that what county has to do is to assess themselves and provide measures that will be suitable for their operations locally  in order to meet up with the international standard.

He advised that all the stakeholders involved in Nigeria should be able to understand each other and come to agreement, as well as provide workable solution for everyone.

In her remarks, Executive Director, S4C, Ms. Victoria Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said that there are on a dawn that beckons them to bridge divides, to forge understanding, and to reaffirm their shared commitment to the economic and social upliftment of the nation.

She explained: “The work of nonprofits in every corner of our society, from the conflict-torn regions of the Sahel to the vibrant communities in the eastern heartlands, from the resilient heartlands of the western commercial hubs to the bustling crossroads of the Nigerian middle-belt and up to the vast arable farmlands across our northern fields: all these embody the spirit of hope and the relentless pursuit of betterment. Their efforts, powered by the lifeblood of financial support, have illuminated paths where once there was darkness.

“Yet, we must acknowledge the shadows that linger—the specter of terrorism financing and the daunting challenges it poses to our collective security. Our response, guided by the principles of the Financial Action Task Force and embodied in the amended Recommendation 8, seeks not just to counter this threat but to do so with a measure of balance and discernment that honors the noble missions of our non-profit organizations.

“As a group, we have carried out extensive research work which has mainly focused on deepening understanding of how counter-terrorism legislation and policies affect human rights and civic freedoms. We have also independently examined whether or not national security measures expand or narrow the operating space for civil society in Nigeria. In doing this, we have particularly interrogated national security policies, frameworks and mechanisms framed around the objectives of anti-money (AML) laundering and countering financing of terrorism (CFT),” she added.

S4C boss further explained that in their research studies have also gauged the extent national assessment of terrorist-financing risks in the non-profit sector satisfy the requirements of international financial regulations such as the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) Recommendation 8.

“Some of our studies have also established how well-intentioned international norms built on the rhetoric of countering terrorism and defending national security can sometimes generate (un)intended consequences in national contexts.

“The Special Control Unit against Money Laundering’s terrorist financing risk assessment has charted a course towards understanding, yet the journey is far from complete. Banks and financial institutions, our partners in prosperity, find themselves at a crossroads. The path of stringent compliance has, at times, led to unintended consequences, casting a chill on the very initiatives we aim to nurture.

“In regions where the light of infrastructure is dim, where the traditional avenues of support are but a whisper, our non-profits have been forced to navigate the shadows, exploring various channels to deliver life-saving support to those in critical need. A litany of restrictions and regulatory limitations, while born of legitimate concerns, further tighten the noose around the potential for innovation in areas most in need.

“But let us not dwell on obstacles. Instead, let us envision a future where collaboration between banks and civil society is not just a necessity but a cornerstone of our shared success. A future where the implementation of AML/CFT requirements is a dance of precision, not a hammer of indiscriminate force”, she advised.

Ms. Ibezim-Ohaeri stressed: “Our goal is clear: to open the civic space and ensure that the vital work of non-profits is not just preserved but thrives. Today, we invite you to join us in this endeavor, to bring your expertise, your insights, and your commitment to a table where every voice is valued, where every concern is heard, and where every solution is born of collaboration.”

The worshop has representatives from the geopolitical zones of the country and relevant government agencies.

Some of the representatives are, Amb. Ahmed Shehu (North East), Com Asimiyu Raji Wale (North West),  Com. Nelson Nnanna Nwafor (South East), Com. Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi (Lagos , South West), Com. Salaudeen Hashim (North West , Kaduna),  and Com. Confidence Obayuwana.

Also, Deputy Director, SCUML, Mrs. Ibinabo Amachree and some of the commercial banks’ representatives.

 

 

 

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