Centre LSD Facilitated the Passage of the NFIU Law in Nigeria
Centre LSD brought resources to OGP implementation in NigeriaStanley Achonu
Centre LSD laid the foundation for the passage of the NFIU law through her research on “Laws and policies: processes and procedure for Open Government Partnership implementation in Nigeria”
On July 5, 2017, Nigeria was suspended from the Egmont Group of 156 members of Financial Intelligent Units (FIUs), with a possibility of being expelled if conditions for lifting the suspension were not met. The suspension was due to the absence of operational autonomy for the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, which was domiciled as at that time, as an administrative FIU in the EFCC before the suspension. The suspension also came in the light of the absence of confidentiality in the handling of financial intelligence by the EFCC in Nigeria.
To meet the conditions for lifting the suspension, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Bill was drafted later in 2017 to make the agency the central body in Nigeria that will be responsible for requesting, receiving, analysing and disseminating financial intelligence reports on money laundering, terrorist financing and other relevant information to law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, and other relevant authorities in Nigeria. The bill which is to aid the anti-corruption fight of the Buhari led administration, was among other things to institutionalize best practices in financial intelligence management in Nigeria; and to strengthen the existing system for combating money laundering and associated predicate offences, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
At about this same time of Nigeria’s Suspension, Centre LSD began the implementation of her OGP project with one of her activities being the review of relevant anti-corruption laws in Nigeria. The final output of this review was a publication in October 2017 that elaborately reviewed several laws including the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Bill, 2017. The publication gave an elaborate insight into this bill and proffered recommendations and one of them was to expedite actions in the passage of the NFIU Bill in order to lift the suspension on Nigeria and to prevent an eminent expulsion. A situation that will make Nigeria more susceptible to be suspected for money laundering, among others.
At the stakeholder’s validation of this publication (Laws and policies: processes and procedure for Open Government Partnership implementation in Nigeria, organised by Centre LSD, an advocacy group was formed and Centre LSD team and the lead consultant for this publication were the main drivers. The team made a series of advocacy visits to the relevant MDAs and NASS. The result of these visits contributed to the passage of the bill into law on July 11th, 2018, almost a year after the bill was first presented at the NASS.
As a result of the passage of the bill, Egmond group suspension was lifted, Financial Task Force (FATF) is now happy with Nigeria. by February 2019, they came for the final assessment to reintegrate Nigeria into the Egmond group. Having garnered a wealth of knowledge about this bill through their work and interaction with Centre LSD’s publication, the team is again assisting the Acting Director General of the NFIU unit on how to go about the implementation (Championing for independence and improvement in the human resource)
Thank you, Centre LSD, through the support of the MAF for laying the foundation for the passage of the NFIU bill and for being part of the advocacy team who made it happen.