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Senate receives report on NFIU autonomy

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Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu

The Senate on Tuesday in Abuja received the Conference Committee report on a bill to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an independent entity.

Receiving the report, submitted by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremadu said there was a need to expedite action on it.

Ekweremadu commended Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption for the report which would ensure Nigeria is not expelled from the EGMONT Group.

The EGMONT Group is a network of 152-member countries that share information relating to criminal intelligence and financial information.

The group had threatened to expel Nigeria permanently by March 11 if the Nigerian government failed to grant the unit the autonomy required to become its member.

Ekweremadu said the Senate would consider the report on Wednesday.

“It is a very important bill and I am happy that you have come into agreement with the House of Representatives.

“It is important that we consider the report tomorrow so that Nigeria will be out of the suspension and be counted among the comity of nations in the EGMONT Group,’’ he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is currently serving a suspension from the EGMONT group which has accused the EFCC of sharing confidential information to media.

The Senate and House of Representatives had differed over the passage of the bill establishing the NFIU as an independent entity.

Utazi had raised a point of order, accusing the House of non-cooperation. He warned that failure to pass the bill ahead of the next Egmont Group meeting would cause a major economic crisis for Nigeria.

In a reaction, his counterpart, Rep. Kayode Oladele, denied the allegation, saying that he never derailed the process.

Oladele said, “on the contrary, Utazi shoved off all efforts for us to meet.”

The lawmakers eventually met on Monday evening and came up with the report.


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