By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—The governments of Nigeria and Switzerland, Tuesday, reiterated their commitment to denying sources of financing for terrorists activities in Nigeria and West Africa in general.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Martins Uhomoibhi and Ambassador of Switzerland in Nigeria, Hans-Rudolf Hodel, made the commitment during the opening of the training workshop on “Countering the Financing of Terrorism” in Abuja.
The workshop organised by the West African anti-money laundering group, GIABA, with support from the Swiss Confederation and Nigerian government, brought together West African anti-money laundering agencies, governors of central bank of West African states as well as experts in countering terrorists financing.
Ambassador Uhomoibhi reiterated Nigeria’s commitment take all necessary steps to choke off any avenue of financial life line to terrorist activities, as one of the tools of dealing with the menace.
He noted that the preponderance of cash economies, couples with weak financial control amongst other variables makes collaboration with major global financial centres to counter terrorist financiers inevitable.
“As you are aware, countering the financing of terrorism is one of the major tools in curbing or even eliminating acts of terrorism. Terrorist groups need money to operate. By denying them sources of funding, the prospect of winning the fight against terrorism becomes brighter”
“Given the preponderance of cash economies, weak financial control, ineffective collaboration of national law enforcement agencies as well as international co-operation , it is obvious that the challenge in our region is daunting” he said.
Ambassador Uhomoihbi said Nigeria is determined to improve its national response to acts of terrorism within the country, adding that, besides collaborating with sister countries, as well as multilateral organizations, it has also introduced legislative initiatives, with the signing into law of the Terrorism Prevention and Money Laundering Bills by President Good luck Jonathan.
In his remarks, Ambassador Hodel condemned all acts of terrorism, assuring that the Swiss government has since 1998, through it due diligence law removed the veil from its banking secrecy as part of measures to expose politically exposed persons who brings questionable monies into the country’s banking system.
He said, “It is a core interest of the Swiss financial sector that financial hubs are not misused to launder money and to finance terrorism. Swiss laws and procedures to combat money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism are effective means of keeping out illicit funds of politically exposed person.