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‘Establishment of Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit is unnecessary’



The Senate recently passed the bill setting up the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an independent body. It had been passed by the House of Representatives. The bill if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, will make the NFIU independent of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In this interview with YETUNDE AYOBAMI OJO, the national welfare secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Adegbite Adesina, said creating another agency is totally unnecessary. He also spoke on other topical national issues.

Reacting to the passage of the bill by the National Assembly, he said: “First, let me start by saying that the Nigeria Police is a creation of the National Assembly Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

EFCC is also a very important security agency created by the Act. Both security agencies perform functions that are sometimes overlapping.


We also have ICPC, which mainly focus on corrupt practices among public officers, political office holders and public institutions and agencies generally.

Creating a further agency in my view is absolutely unnecessary. It is a waste of time and consequently will lead to humongous wasteful spending.

Nigeria has more than enough security agencies and apparatus to deal with any security issue be it breakdown of law and order or financial crimes. It is an anomaly that we are still thinking of creating another agency when all we need to do is to strengthen the existing institutions.

“We need to reform the Nigeria Police, the EFCC, the ICPC and other security agencies and allow the office of the Attorney General to play the role of an ombudsman that supervises the activities of these security institutions.

We must therefore ensure only persons who have the conviction to be disciplined, dutiful, professional and conscientious get appointed as the Attorney General.

Why should we commit resources that could have been better used for projects that will positively impact on the lives of Nigerians on the establishment of an intelligence Unit that may end up becoming more corrupt than the existing agencies?

The idea in my view should be jettisoned while the security agencies in the country especially the Police, EFCC and ICPC should be reformed and re-engineered to position them for better performances.”

On the conflict arising as a result of the attempt by the National Assembly to reorder the 2019 election timetable, the lawyer said the dispute was occasioned by mutual suspicion, which exists between the parliament and the presidency.

His words: “On the effort by National Assembly to reorder the election time-table, it would ordinarily not have been an issue had it not been for the mutual suspicion between the National Assembly and the Presidency.

Personally, l do not see any big deal in making the presidential election come last in the order of polls. Nigeria is not the only country where elections will be staggered. It is a global standard practice.

My only concern about this, is the financial implication of such staggering. However, the opposition we have witnessed so far especially from the presidency and political apologists has been that the reordering was targeted at President Buhari.

I do not intend to join such bandwagon, but my view as someone that is apolitical is that such reordering has the tendency to bring about decency, but it also comes with attendant financial burden.”

Land use charge law revised by Lagos state government has attracted criticism from various quarters in the state including protests by the Ikeja branch of the NBA. What does Adesina think of the issue?

“The newly introduced Land Use Charge regime is an anti-people, it is mindlessly exorbitant, it is ill-timed, it is unfair and must be jettisoned at this time. The Land Use Charge of Law of Lagos State may become extinct as a result of the obnoxious increments.

People are now vexed and justifiably moved to challenge the constitutionality and legality of the law itself.

When people kept quiet before now, it wasn’t that they don’t know their rights, it was simply because they felt the sense of ownership and responsibility towards the government in Lagos State; however, the killing rates being levied on the people has now turned the same people that were doing voluntary compliance to stand against the policy and the law.

My advise to Governor Ambode on this Land Use Charge matter is to thread softly and listen to the voice of the people.

While I understand the need for the State to generate fund, Mr. Governor should remember that vox populi vox dei (voice of the people is the voice of God).

All things are possible if there are proper engagements and amicable resolutions. The use of force or uncompromising stand can only bring anarchy and revolution,” he said.

Speaking on the restructuring campaign and judicial independent, he said restructuring is an unavoidable necessity for the survival of the geographical expression called Nigeria.

His words: “If Nigeria must continue to exist as a united entity then restructuring must be at the front burner of any intellectual arrangement towards salvaging the country from the ruins she seems to be navigating towards.

What we have at play right now as many knowledgeable Nigerians have alluded to severally at different fora and platforms is at best described as a lopsided federalism.

That nearly every sector of economy and governance that are pivotal to the growth of the country and infrastructural development are placed under the exclusive list in the Constitution is a self imposed bottleneck and development hindrance.

This anomalous federalism is also responsible for a lot of needless ethnic, communal and religious clashes that has become a norm in the country.

It must however be noted that restructuring was one of the catchy manifestos of APC which contributed greatly to the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as the President in 2015.

Personally I see restructuring as a moral burden, which the APC government must ensure becomes a reality. It is indeed more of a covenant that must be fulfilled.

“However, the body language of the Presidency does not suggest that the covenant will be fulfilled before the next election. If fulfilled, then those of us who went on the streets and social media despite not being card-carrying members of APC to campaign for President Buhari will surely heave a sigh of relief.

It is my prayer that the restructuring campaign is not made a political campaign tool for second term, but rather treated as an agenda that must be prosecuted to a logical conclusion by the Federal Government.

“On Judicial independence, it is a precondition for the existence of a just society.

An independent judiciary is a panacea for a peaceful society, adherence to rule of law, a fair and just society, economic development and much more. We certainly cannot over state the benefits of an independent judiciary to any nation.”

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