Alex Enumah in Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday called for an effective networking and collaboration of all countries of the world in tackling the scourge of money laundering and terrorism financing.
Dogara also called upon developed countries to stop providing a safe haven for stolen funds from poor impoverished countries of Africa, including Nigeria.
He gave the charge yesterday in Abuja while declaring open the 28th Technical Commission and Plenary of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in Africa (GIABA).
â€œWe must realise as stakeholders that the criminals have globalised their activities and are now connecting across the globe seamlessly whilst the enforcers of the laws are hampered in no small measure due to lack of effective international cooperation and collaboration.
â€œThere must be synergy between the impoverished countries where monies may have been stolen and laundered from and countries where considered as safe havens where these proceeds of crime are kept,â€ he stated.
As stated earlier, the fibers of international cooperation must be strengthened if we must win the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
He commended the openness and willingness of so many countries across the word that are partnering Nigeria to fight corruption and return to Nigeriaâ€™s monies and other assets that have been stolen and stashed away in their jurisdictions.
The speaker said Nigeria is open to forms of cooperation permissible under the law and also in line with prevailing global best practices which could be expressed in unhindered Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) information exchange or request for Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
He however charged African leaders to accord necessary support to agencies of government that are saddled with the responsibility of preventing and combating money laundering and terrorism â€œby making provision for adequate resources including the necessary legal framework to enable them function optimally.â€
In his remarks, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, told the gathering that Nigeria has taken several steps in curtailing money laundering activities, including the implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Single Treasury Account among others, which according to him have helped in blocking leakages in the governing system of Nigeria.