The Nigerian Government on Monday debunked a report by the Inter-governmental Action Group on Money Laundering in West Africa revealing that about N18 billion from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) flowed through the country’s financial system to reach terror groups in Nigeria.

GIABA, which was established by the Economic Community of West African States to help prevent and control money laundering and terrorist financing in the region, stated that the Nigerian Government failed to track the movement of funds by terrorist groups through the country’s financial system.

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian President Buhari at the United Nations

The group also knocked President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for failing to take action on sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria despite intelligence on such provided to the country by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who arrested some of these financiers.

In a statement on Monday, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit described the report by ECOWAS as “totally outdated and based on a 2019 country evaluation report which is literally stale and irrelevant today”.

The statement signed by Ahmed Dikko, Chief Media Analyst of NFIU, read, “It is to the knowledge of the international community, our populace and the formal media organisations that several arrests were made through the ongoing ‘Operation Service Wide’ approved by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Defence Intelligence Agency. The exercise is continuing and far from over.

“In addition, all funding of violence from all sections of the country are being evidently analysed and reported to all relevant authorities according to law.

“It's true that recently Nigeria fell victim to illicit financial flows but overt and far-reaching efforts are being executed by the government to stem the bad practice.

“The ECOWAS body released its report to justify putting Nigeria’s financial system under enhanced review process alongside other countries in the Sahel.

“We had formally faulted the report to the ECOWAS body while agreeing to partner with them to carry out further review processes to jointly attain global best practices on all counter measures against local and cross-border violent crimes disturbing the entire West Africa presently.

“All our neighbours have proofs of our exchange of terrorist financial intelligence with them real time.” 

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