On Sunday, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a body established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to check the flow of illicit funds, said about N18 billion generated from trading and taxing communities yearly in the Lake Chad region was moved through the country’s financial system.
In its 2021 mutual evaluation report, the group said President Muhammadu Buhari failed to confiscate the assets of terrorists as demanded in the global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations.
“A study estimated ISWAP’s revenues, deemed larger than Boko Haram’s, at up to USD$36m annually, much of it from trading activity and taxation in the Lake Chad region,” the report said.
But in a statement on Monday, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU chief media analyst, said the report by the organisation is based on a 2019 country evaluation report “which is literally stale and irrelevant today”.
“It is to the knowledge of the international community, our populace and the formal media organisations that several arrests were made through the ongoing Operation Service Wide approved by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA),” Dikko said.
“The exercise is continuing and far from over. In addition all funding of violence from all sections of the country are being evidently analysed and reported to all relevant authorities according to law.
“It is true that recently Nigeria fell victim to illicit financial flows but overt and far reaching efforts are being executed by the government to stem the bad practice.
“The ECOWAS body released its report to justify putting Nigeria’s Financial System under enhanced review process alongside other countries in the Sahel.
“We had formally faulted the report to the ECOWAS body while agreeing to partner with them to carry out further review processes to jointly attain global best practices on all counter measures against local and cross border violent crimes disturbing the entire West Africa presently.
“All our neighbours have proofs of our exchange of terrorist financial intelligence with them real time.”