By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri

In it’s avowed determination to fight money laundering and terrorism financing in the country, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has trained 30 working journalists in Borno State on Financial Crimes Reporting.

The training took place on Thursday at the Maiduguri Zonal Command of the anti-graft agency, where experts presented various papers.

Declaring the one-day workshop opened, the Executive Chairman if the EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, said that the media plays a vital role in complementing efforts of the agency in the fight against corruption, trafficking in persons, money laundering among other prohibited acts in the country, hence the need maintain partnership between the agency and the media to sanitize the country for a better economic development.

Represented by the Maiduguri Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr. Oshodi Johnson, Bawa said that the media training became neccessary because of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022; Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022; and the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, which are new legislations designed to prevent and tackle illicit financial flows and money laundering.

Besides, he said, “In terms of the financing of terrorism, we are in a region that have borne the brunt of terrorist activities in Nigeria. The insurgency in this region led to the loss of hundreds of lives and left public infrastructure in ruins.”

Bawa cited instances with the activities of a few charlatans who have called the altruistic commitment of others to question, particularly a prominent woman, Mama Boko Haram,  who was investigated by the commission, prosecuted and convicted for using her non-governmental organization, NGO, for fraudulent purposes in Borno State.

He warned that such criminal act should not be allowed to continue, going by the ordeal of this region in the hands of terrorists and should therefore not to be exploited for pecuniary gains.

Bawo averred that the question, which many of us have asked, and which should engage our minds today, is who are the financiers of the various terrorist groups?

He enthused, “As journalists, we should not only ask questions, but be prepared to use our investigative tools to find answers. As a consequence of the insurgency in this region, we now have a proliferation of NGOs, doing charity work in this region.

“This is because, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2023 makes it mandatory for non-profit organizations to register with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML.

“Section 56 of the Terrorism Act also empowers SCUML, which is now fully domiciled in the EFCC, to refuse or revoke the registration of any NGO linked to terrorist groups.

“As partners, we all have a duty to investigate whether NGOs operating in the region are in compliance with the law.

“Where journalists have incontrovertible evidence of non-compliance or outright criminality, it is your moral duty to expose such.”

In a vote of thanks on behalf of the working journalists/participants, the Chairman of the Borno State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Dauda Iliya, commended the EFCC for organizing such a workshop and brainstorm on the need to partner in synergy in the fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing.

Highlight of the workshop was presentation of papers by a legal practioner with the commission, Mr. Chris Mshelia, titled: ‘New Money Laundering Framework: Duties and Responsibilities of Individuals and Corporate Organizations;’ Investigative Journalism and Nigeria’s Fight Against Money Laundering,’ by Dele Oyewale; and ‘Digital Payment System: Emerging Opportunities for Fraud and Prevention Tips for Victims,’ by Obiageli Okechukwu.


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