Senate receives report to grant Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit autonomy

Senate receives report to grant Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit autonomy

The bill also provides that the head of the unit should be called a director and that the appointment of the director should be subject to Senate confirmation.

It will be recalled that Nigeria is now serving a suspension from Egmont Group, a body of 154 financial intelligence units, FIUs across the world, which provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Parliament acted after the Egmont Group, a body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units worldwide, threatened to delist Nigeria unless its own unit gained autonomy, enabling it to deal with financial crimes more effectively.

He said: "It is a very important bill and I am happy that you have come into agreement with the House of Representatives".

He said "being a conference report I do not think we need any further debate knowing the importance of the NFIU to the economy and the well-being of Nigeria and its relationship with the global financial intelligence committee".

The Senate and House of Representatives had differed over the passage of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Bill establishing the NFIU as an independent entity.

Utazi on Thursday, raised a Point of Order, accusing his counterpart in the House of non-cooperation.

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The Senate President had earlier on Sunday expressed confidence that the Upper House will pass the bill this week.

It took a closed-door session between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to resolve the disagreement leading to the laying of the report on Tuesday.

Utazzi said the bill seeks to establish a financial intelligence agency that will be autonomous from the control of the EFCC as it is at present.

Reacting to the allegation, Oladele, said he never frustrated the process and instead accused Senator Utazi of putting off all efforts for them to meet.

The NFIU is now under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

‎Sources say that the EFCC was not willing to give up on the matter and allow NFIU to go, which stalled the passage and signing into law of the Bill since 2017.

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