NFIU Independence Will Not Affect EFCC Operations – Utazi
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Chukwuka Utazi, says the independence of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIU) will not hinder the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Senator Utazi said this on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s political programme, Politics Today.
“I want to tell Nigerians that giving the NFIU an independent existence in terms of operation and financial activities of its duties will no way water down the activities of EFCC,” he said.
The lawmaker’s comments come five months after the Senate passed a bill which seeks the establishment of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA).
The NFIU is the country’s central agency for receiving, analysing and disseminating information as it relates to money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Prior to the passing of the bill, the Senate had taken steps to separate the NFIA from the EFCC.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, however, inaugurated a committee to reposition the NFIU which he said would be ‘expressly autonomous’.
Reacting to this, Senator Utazi insisted that both entities should be separated, noting that the independence of the NFIU would not affect the operations of the EFCC.
He also blamed the difficulty in the course of separating both entities on the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo when the EFCC was established.
Utazi said: “When the Obasanjo administration was bringing this bill into legislation in the Senate then, they made the mistake of calling the EFCC ‘Nigerian Intelligence Financial Unit’, that was when we started having the trouble.
“Now, several efforts are being made to remove the financial unit from the EFCC, and the Egmont Group and the financial taskforce have been telling Nigerians for some years now to remove EFCC from the operations of the NFIU in Nigeria.”
“But they are finding it difficult and that is the reason why there is a clamour to the extent that we (Nigeria) have been suspended,” he added.