Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on Monday disputed a report published by ECOWAS alleging the movement of billions of naira in terror funding through the country’s financial system.
The NFIU is domiciled within Nigeria’s Central Bank and serves as the central coordinating body for the Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing and Counter-Proliferation Financing activities.
The NFIU described as untrue, ECOWAS’ Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) report that the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) moved about 18 Billion naira ($36m) through the country’s financial system annually.
The story is “totally outdated and was based on a 2019 country evaluation report which is stale and irrelevant today,” said Ahmed Dikko, the organisation’s Chief Media Analyst.
He added that Nigeria’s counterterrorism financing efforts have practically moved forward since then, adding that funding of violence from all sections of the country is being analysed and reported to all relevant authorities according to law.
“It is to the knowledge of the international community, our populace and the formal media organisations that several arrests were made through the ongoing Operation Service Wide approved by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). The exercise is continuing and far from over.”
The NFIU statement also said the ECOWAS body report was to justify putting the country’s Financial System under enhanced review process alongside other countries in the Sahel.
“We had formally faulted the report to the ECOWAS body while agreeing to partner with them to carry out further review processes to jointly attain global best practices on all countermeasures against local and cross border violent crimes disturbing entire West Africa presently.
“All our neighbours have proofs of our exchange of terrorist financial intelligence with them real-time,” the statement said.
Nigeria is grappling with the threat posed by Al Qaeda and Islamic State-affiliated terror groups. The country has responded with military and non-kinetic measures, including strengthening counter-terrorism laws and oversight of the financial system.
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