The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money in West Africa (GIABA) on Friday announced plans for Nigeria to be evaluated for money laundering and terrorism financing in 2017. GIABA is a specialised institution of ECOWAS that is responsible for strengthening the capacity of member states toward prevention and control of money laundering and terrorism financing in the region.
The GIABA Representative in Nigeria, Mr Timothy Melaye,made the disclosure when he paid an advocacy visit to the Lagos office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Melaye said the visit was to forge possible collaboration between GIABA and NAPTIP, especially in building capacity of the agency’s personnel ahead of next year’s Mutual Evaluation of Nigeria.
“The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an independent inter-governmental global body, has concluded plans to carry out a Mutual Evaluation on money laundering and terrorism financing in Nigeria in 2017. “Mutual Evaluation is a Peer Review Mechanism whereby countries are rated on all issues that borders on money laundering and terrorism financing.
“We are currently on advocacy visits to the relevant agencies so that Nigeria should prepare to avoid being blacklisted again as a country with high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing,’’ he said. The representative said that it was imperative for NAPTIP and other relevant agencies to redouble their efforts in fighting trafficking in persons and other related crimes.
Melaye assured NAPTIP of his organisation’s readiness to work with it in making sure that next year’s Mutual Evaluation on Nigeria would be encouraging to FATF. He also said that GIABA would henceforth include NAPTIP in its capacity building programmes within and outside the country. The NAPTIP’s Lagos office Zonal Commander, Mr Joseph Famakin, who commended the representative for the visit, said that the collaboration was a welcome development.
Famakin, however, urged GIABA not to restrict the advocacy visit to NAPTIP’s Lagos office but to also visit its Headquarters in Abuja. He said that his organisation had come up with new laws aimed at enhancing the organisation’s responsibilities as well as expanding its operations to financial investigations.
“NAPTIP currently has enough instruments for not just to bark but bite. “We strongly believe that there are so many things that this agency and GIABA can do together to ensure that Nigeria’s ratings becomes encouraging next year,’’ he said.