The suspension of Nigeria from the EGMONT group is a major set back for the Federal government’s fight against corruption, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said.
Hon Dogara said the National Assembly is working to ensure that the suspension placed on Nigeria is lifted within the shortest possible time.
Speaking when he received in audience the Director General of Inter Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA), in West Africa, a unit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Col. Adama Coulibaly, who was accompanied by the Director of the NFIU Francis Usani in his office, the Speaker stated that Nigeria’s suspension was a rude shock because the APC government is committed to the fight against corruption.
He said the fight against corruption cannot be succeesful without support and cooperation from other countries because in most cases proceeds of corruption are taken out of the country and kept in other jurisdictions.
“No nation can survive as an island. It will take the collective cooperation by agencies different countries to combat both terrorism and corruption and said “unfortunately we are facing the two in Nigeria with the Boko Haram violence in the North East.”
“It is impossible to fight terrorism and corruption without strong legal framework,” he added.
He explained that there are two bills on anti-terrorism and anti-money laudering and mutual assistance on reparation of corruption proceeds that are pending before the House which will soon be passed into law.
However, the Speaker explained that the House was yet to pass the Bill seeking to grant total autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit as forwarded from the Senate because there was the need to meet with key stakeholders and players to know their expectations so as to avoid expulsion of Nigeria from the group.
Speaking earlier, Col Coulibaly said he was in Nigeria on advocacy visit on the hosting of GIABA statutory meetings slated for November in Nigeria and assess Nigeria’s application to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Col Coulibaly also urged Nigerian leaders to work to ensure that the country meet the minimum requirements and standards needed in order to be admitted into the FATF which will make it second African country to join the group after South Africa.
He stated that the bills pending before the National Assembly should conform and comply to international standard.