Terrorist Financing: Regional financial bodies meet in Abuja
*Worry over West Africa’s worsening GTI position
Government representatives from West African countries, regional financial institutions and experts have expressed worries over the 2022 Global Terrorism Index report which stated that three out of 10 top countries with high terrorism activities are from the region.
This was disclosed at the ongoing five-day regional submit in Abuja organized by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).
With the theme, Current and Emerging Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Issues, GIABA stated that the summit was aimed at promoting awareness on emerging money laundering and terrorist risks. It meeting also served as a forum for experience sharing on the matter, as well as fostering cooperation and collaboration towards effective implementation of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT)
The Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Tukur Modibbo Ribadu, at the commencement of the summit, disclosed that it has conducted a major analytical operation that was focused on individuals financing activities of the Boko Haram sect and its affiliates in the country.
According to him, the government has so far requested for additional information about suspected terror financiers from 28 countries.
“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, including Chad, Cameroon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger and Benin. Meanwhile, observers are Ghana, Guinea and the Central Africa Republic”, Ribadu stated.
Adding: “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.”
Also, Director General, GIABA, Mr Aba Kimelabalou, commended Nigeria’s leadership role in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa, including the passage of three important legislations to address identified strategic deficiencies into law.
According to him, GIABA has adopted 12 mutual evaluation reports that indicated the existence of significant gaps, especially with regards to national cooperation and coordination, supervisory regime and implementation of preventive measures by reporting institutions.
Kimelabalou added that the gaps adversely impacted on 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 summit ends on Friday.
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