REMARKS BY SENATOR CHUKWUKA UTAZI, CHAIRMAN SENATE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION AND FINANCIAL CRIMES AT THE NIGERIA INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COMBATING THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM WORKSHOP FOR MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND CHIEF EXECUTIVES OF STAKEHOLDER MDAs ON TUESDAY 6THDECEMBER, 2016 AT THE SHERATON HOTEL, ABUJA.
This Inter-Ministerial Committee Workshop on AML/CFT is a welcome development as part of the efforts in inter-governmental collaboration to protect the global financial system against money-laundering and financing of terrorism. It is organized in furtherance of Nigeria’s national coordination towards meeting the requirements to achieve full membership of FAFT.
A lot needs to be done to satisfy the conditions for membership of FAFT in order to access the benefits of such membership. This Workshop, I understand, will update participants on the current position of Nigeria vis-à-vis the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing requirements. It would also reveal what policies, and I presume, what legislations need to be in place in order to meet with international best practices.
I am aware of the proposed visit by FATF Secretariat to Nigeria in March 2017, having been part of the Nigerian Delegation to the High-Level Meetings on the issue in Paris. We must put our house in order, demonstrate more rigour and coordinationby ensuring that the three line Ministries on the subject, viz, Justice, Finance and Interior and other Stakeholder Parastatals and Agencies synergise towards the full enlistment of Nigeria as a full member of the FATF. The benefits of such full membership are many.
This workshop for members of the National Assembly and Chief Executives of stakeholder MDAs is a step in the right direction as it would help us identify the risk elements inherent in the various sectors of the economy and our public life, ensure that appropriate measures are designed to address those risks, and secure more effective resource allocation.
Nigeria has a first-hand experience of the pernicious and destabilizingeffects of terrorism. Nigeria has seen, in its rawest form, the damage taking money illegally out of the country, has done to our development. It has kept the country perennially in the realm of potential greatness.
There must be synergy and clarity of approach to tackle illegal routing of money, which more often than not are directed towards financing activities that dehumanize us, and destabilize our country.
We need to move further in securing concrete results to complement the shuttle diplomacy of our President in asking hosts of looted funds to return them. We must improve mutual legal assistance, enthrone a framework for asset recovery and management, and harmonise anti-corruption legislations, where overlaps create inefficiency.
I, therefore, wish all of us participants fruitful deliberations as we hew out ways to raise Nigeria’s position on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. We in the National Assembly will do our own to aggressively move the frontiers of this subject forward.
Thank you for listening and May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.