The Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Mr Modibbo Tukur, on Monday blamed weak governance structure in West Africa for the rising cases of money laundering and terrorism financing.
Tukur spoke during the 3rd Inter-university Speech Contest on “Money Laundering and Counter-terrorism Financing: Impact on West Africa Economies,” held at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
The National Correspondent of Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa in Nigeria also identified poor institutional framework, inadequate laws and unstable system of justice administration as part of reasons why terrorism financing and money laundering were difficult to fight in West Africa.
Speaking on the theme, “Fighting money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa: What Next?” the NFIU boss stated that the debate competition among university students drawn from Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, would not only create awareness among the youths about the AML/CFT regime but also foster and strengthen beneficial partnership between GIABA and the youths in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing within the region.
Represented by Mr. Felix Obiamalu, a senior staff of the agency, Tukur added that despite the combative efforts of various organisations involved in anti-money laundering and countering of terrorism financing, the region remained under the threat of implosion as a result of the adverse consequences of the menaces.
“To stem this tide, the combative strategy is now tilting more towards inclusion. It is to this end that this competition amongst universities is both handy and timely in that there is an urgent need to bring the youths on board in the fight against this menace,” he said.
In his opening remarks, the Director General of GIABA, Justice Kimelabalou Aba, noted that money laundering and terrorism financing constituted major obstacles to the region’s development because of the adverse impact on regional security and development, including erosion of reputation of member states.
The Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of UNEC, Prof. Edith Nwosu, thanked GIABA for choosing the university as venue for the debate in Nigeria, describing money laundering and terrorism financing as a hydra-headed monster threatening to devour the region.