Nigeria and Sixteen other African countries have agreed to work together to curtail money laundering and terrorism funding in the region.
The countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The countries’ Financial Intelligence Units met in Abuja on Tuesday, the 8th of November, 2022, to develop an action plan that would provide effective solutions to the financial complexities associated with terrorism and the proliferation of weapons in the region.
Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, speaking at the units’ inaugural meeting, said terror attacks have stifled development in the region.
He lamented that terrorist groups are waxing strong in the region as a result of the multiple sources of funding they have been receiving from both local and international partners.
He said, “The frequency of terror attacks around the region due to the activities of Boko Haram, the Islamic State of West African Province, and other related groups has deprived many people of attaining their full potential at a very significant cost to the socio-economic development of the region.
“The security threats and other forms of insurgency are being aggressively tackled by various governments and institutions, however, the sophisticated and evolving techniques used by the terrorists in financing their activities have continued to be the greatest challenge facing the region.
Mustapha further explained that, “The terrorist groups have managed to sustain their operations with the finances they receive from multiple sources, aided by the complex transnational and transactional criminal networks that are operating in the region alongside their global partners.”
He added that terrorism funding would be eradicated when the countries adopt regional measures to tackle the scourge.
The Director-General, Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, Edwin Harris Jnr. urged the government of member countries to give their support to their Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to enable them carry out their mandates effectively.