National Assembly Passed A Bill To Grant NFIU Independent

Senate President Bukola Saraki with deputy Senate President Ekweremadu. NFIU autonomy bill passed

Senate President Bukola Saraki with deputy Senate President Ekweremadu. NFIU autonomy bill passed

Specifically, Section 2 (c) of the EFCC Act provides that the commission (EFCC) "is the designated Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in Nigeria, which is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the various institutions involved in the fight against any money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria".

The passage of the legislation is key to Nigeria's membership of the Egmont Group, an informal network of 156 financial intelligence units (FIUs).

The passage followed the presentation of the Conference report on Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency ( Est, etc.) Bill, 2018 (SB.535) by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North) and for consideration.

The National Assembly yesterday passed into law the bill aimed at establishing the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in line with global best practices.

Ahead of its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between March 11 and March 16, Nigeria is expected to make NFIU independent in order to avoid expulsion.

However, the bill as passed by the House of Representatives has transferred the NFIU from the EFCC to the CBN.

The bill seeks to establish the NFIU as the central body responsible for receiving, requesting and analysing financial intelligence report.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, said the controversy has been resolved and that the passage of the bill would be one of the major achievements of the Senate.

"I hope that with this Bill that we have passed today - this Conference Report - that they will have a second view and re-admit us (Nigeria) into the process (EGMONT Group)".

In the report adopted by the House yesterday, the NFIU is now domiciled at the CBN and the unit is to be headed by a director.

Before now, it was gathered that Egmont suspended NFIU because EFCC, was allegedly leaking sensitive information to the media.

The Senate President urged the President to immediately sign the bill into law to prevent Nigeria's expulsion from the group.

The joint committee met on Monday, where the two versions of the report were harmonised.

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