National Assembly Passed A Bill To Grant NFIU Independent

Reps pass bill seeking to make NFIU autonomous

Reps pass bill seeking to make NFIU autonomous

The Senate and House of Representative conference committee have agreed to domicile the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it was learnt Tuesday.

A meeting between Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, mandated the two lawmakers to meet and conclude work on the conference report.

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

DAILY POST reports that the EGMONT Group is a network of 152 member countries that share information relating to criminal intelligence and financial information.

The senate passed it's own version of the NFIU bill in September previous year while the harmonized and final copy was passed yesterday by the House of Representatives at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Yussuff Lasun.

The Egmont Group insisted that failure to make Nigeria's unit legally independent would have subjected financial transactions from Nigeria, including funds transfers and credit cards, to special controls, banking sources said.

Ekweremadu commended Utazi and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Kayode Oladele, for putting aside their differences and presenting a harmonised report.

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Nigeria is now on suspension from the group over the lack of autonomy for the NFIU.

It seeks to grant financial and operational autonomy to the agency and empowers it as the central body in Nigeria to be responsible for "requesting, receiving, analysing and disseminating financial and other information to all law enforcement and security agencies and other relevant authorities".

"I hope on the part of the Executive, they will quickly assent to this Bill and also ensure that the independence of the Financial Unit goes beyond just signing this Bill into law".

He argued that if the issue of domiciliation had been resolved in favour of the EFCC as earlier recommended by the House, the NFIU could have benefited from the "policing powers of the EFCC" to do its job.

One has to do with where the NFIU will be domiciled.

Both committees met on Monday to avert Nigeria's impending expulsion from the Egmont group of financial intelligence units.

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