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Money laundering threat to national security – UniAbuja acting VC



The Acting Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja (UniAbuja), Prof. Aisha Maikudi, says money laundering and terrorism financing are global challenges that threatened nation’s security and undermines the financial systems.

Maikudi said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a public lecture with the theme; “Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in Developing Economics: the Role of Lawyers”.

It was reported that the event is organised by UniAbuja in collaboration with University of California, San Francisco, United States faculty exchange programme.

According to her, the role of lawyers in the fight against money laundering and terrorism is indispensable.

“Money laundering and terrorism financing are global challenges with profound implications for our nation’s security, economic stability, and societal well-being.

“These illicit activities not only fuel crimes and corruptions but also undermine the very foundations of our legal and financial systems.

“In this context, the role of lawyers is indispensable. Lawyers are the gatekeepers of justice, entrusted with the responsibility to ensure that the rule of law prevails.

“Law profession is uniquely positioned to identify, prevent, and combat these threats through rigorous legal practices, ethical standards, and unwavering commitment to transparency and accountability,” she said.

She said that the lecture provided an invaluable opportunity to deepen understanding of the complexities surrounding money laundering and terrorism financing.

In her goodwill message, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Mrs Hafsat Abubakar, described money laundering and terrorism financing as a global threat.

She said the threats were not only to the economic interest of both Nigeria and the U.S. but indeed the whole world.

Abubakar, who was represented by Mr Felix Obiamalu, General Counsel, NFIU, said the unit had been the central agency tasked with receiving, analysing and disseminating financial intelligence reports.

She said it was important to take necessary steps to deepen the collaboration and identify opportunities to reinforce the capacity in understanding of money laundering, terrorist financing and related offences.

Similarly, the Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede, said money laundering and terrorism financing was a cross border offences, which no nation could isolate itself.

Represented by Mr Sylvanus Tahir, Director, Legal Services, EfCC, Olukoyede said that nations of the world were affected in one way or the other with the offence of money laundering and terrorism financing.

“You may discover that those who engage in crime maybe located in one jurisdiction but their activities cross the borders.

“So that underscores the importance of bringing experts from abroad to come and tell us their experiences of what is happening there and how they are fighting it,” he said.

The Deputy District Attorney, Alameda County, California, U.S., Ms Demarris Evans, said that corruption was not only a thing of developing countries but also of developed country such as U.S.

Evans, in her paper titled, ‘Government Corruption in the United States’, said that if individuals did not know what was happening in the government, they would not be able to hold anyone accountable.

She highlighted some causes of government corruptions in the U.S. to include; wealth inequality, lack of oversight, weak institutions, lack of accountability, public apathy and cultural acceptance.

She said that these problems could be combated through the provision of anti-corruption laws, transparency initiatives, department of justice, protection of whistleblowers, media role, among others.

Dr Sam Onyeka, Certified Anti-Money Laundering Expert, in his paper on ‘Money laundering and Terrorism financing, with emphasis on Nigeria, said that money laundering and terrorism financing were serious crimes.

Onyeka said that for Nigeria to fight corruption, they must also fight money laundering, adding that money laundering helped corruption to thrive.

He said the reason why most people are poor in this part of the world was because of money laundering.

“The fact is that developing economy appears to be in trouble because their laws are weak and their public institutions are also weak on account of corruption but in America is not so,” he said.

He said there was need for regulatory bodies to work with lawyers in the bid to fight corruption in Nigeria.

Uche Bibilari

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