Nigeria Strengthens Commitment to Anti-Money Laundering Efforts in West Africa

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The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (AML) in West Africa (GIABA), aiming to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and arms proliferation.

Mr. Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, emphasized this during the inauguration of the 40th GIABA Technical Commission and Plenary Meeting in Abuja.

Fagbemi, also the Chairman of the GIABA Ministerial Committee, highlighted Nigeria’s improved technical compliance, contributing to the completion of the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) Action Plan.

He stated, “Nigeria will persist in providing necessary support to ensure the program’s remaining aspects are completed, making GIABA a model of effective delivery in the next round of evaluations.”

Our support for GIABA is rooted in the understanding that it is the sole mechanism enabling our region to influence the development of standards and recommendations for our assessment within the global AML/CFT/CPF system.”

“As we confront the future and the next mutual evaluation cycle, tailored responses to the evolving Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) environment become imperative,” he added.

President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Toray, commended GIABA’s exit from the Fatal Effectiveness Improvement Programme, describing it as historic for both GIABA and the sub-region. Toray affirmed the Commission’s readiness to strengthen cooperation in tackling outstanding issues and preparing for the next round of mutual evaluation.

Mr. Edwin Harris Jr., Director-General of GIABA, acknowledged progress in technical compliance across member states but stressed the need for improvement in effectiveness. The Secretariat will collaborate with member states on Assets Recovery, focusing on freezing, seizure, confiscation, management, and disposal to deny criminals the use of proceeds.

Mr. Jeremy Weil, Vice-President of FATF, urged GIABA to sustain its gains through collective efforts, emphasizing deeper engagement, strategic coordination, and enhanced technical assistance and training.

Mr. Tukur Modibbo, GIABA National Correspondent/Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), highlighted the threat of ML/TF to global socio-economic development. Nigeria is determined to exit the FATF list of jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring ahead of schedule, reaffirming unwavering commitment to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The 40th GIABA Technical Commission/Plenary, coupled with its 27th Ministerial Committee meeting, taking place from Nov. 12 to 18, signifies a crucial step in ensuring member states’ compliance with AML/CFT standards, fostering regional peace, security, prosperity, and integration in the ECOWAS region. The meeting included the consideration and approval of follow-up reports on member states’ compliance with FATF Recommendations on AML/CFT.

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