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EFCC Clamps Down On NFIU Operations: As Policemen Take Over Office, Set To Destroy Evidence

By Johnson Ayorinde

No fewer than ten heavily armed mobile Policemen are presently occupying the premises of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), restraining her officers from entering the office Complex to perform their lawful duties.

Sources within the Unit, who confirmed the report to our Correspondent frowned at what they described as intimidation to cover up corruption by the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde.

They however accused the Policemen of attempting to forcefully gain access to the Unit's offices to destroy useful evidence gathered for the prosecution of certain very important cases of corruption and terrorism.

Commenting on the development, a legal practitioner, Prosper Robinson described the situation as unfortunate.

He condemned what he described as impunity in defense of corruption by the present EFCC leadership and called on the President to take urgent steps to sanitize the Commission.

Continuing, Robinson lamented that the development is capable of putting spanners on the progress made in the war against money laundering and terrorism in Nigeria, a feat that got Nigeria delisted from the list of high risk countries by the global money laundering watchdog-Financial Action Task Force recently.

He insisted that “NFIU should serve all law enforcement Agencies and not just EFCC. The fact that it is domiciled in EFCC does not give the Commission total control over NFIU.”

The Nigeria FinancialIntelligence Unit (NFIU) is the Nigeria arm of the global financialintelligence unit (FIU) and is presently domiciled within the Economic andFinancial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as an autonomous Unit. The setting up of the NFIU is part of the efforts of the federal government in combating money launderingand the financing of terrorist activities in Nigeria, and as a precondition for the removal of Nigeria from the Financial ActionTask Force (FATF) list of Non-cooperation countries and territories (NCCTs).

This development appears to have confirmed the long held position by stakeholders that the aim of establishing the NFIU may not be fully achieved if it does not operate independently; a situation that informed the initiation of the NFIU autonomy Bill pending at the National Assembly.

The NFIU autonomy Bill seeks to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency as the central body in Nigeria responsible for receiving, requesting, analysing and disseminating financial and other information to all law enforcement and security agencies and other relevant authorities.

All efforts to reach both the NFIU Director and EFCC Spokesman for comments proved abortive as their lines could not be reached.