Exclusive interview with Sokoto Governor, His Excellency Hon Aminu Tambuwal.

Rt Hon Aminu Tambuwal, ex Speaker House of Representatives and current Sokoto state governor in this interview with select journalists, including EMEKA NZE, relives his experience as a speaker and contrasts it with his present position as a governor, the security state of Sokoto, the possibility of floating a regional security outfit for the northwest and others.


You were a speaker of the House of Representatives before becoming the governor of Sokoto State, what has been the experience.?


It’s like you are talking about two different world, House of Representatives, National Assembly Federal Republic of Nigeria and Sokoto State. In the House of Representatives, you have representations from 360 constituency of Nigeria who are from different and diverse backgrounds coming with their different degrees of experience, some definitely older than you, some more educated, some wealthier than you, some younger than you and holding equal mandates, representing their constituencies with different worldviews and perspectives on issues and all of that. Here in Sokoto one can say that the people in the state are largely from the same background, even though we have the Fulani’s, we have the Hausa, some Kanuri’s and other Nigerians that are living here with us, it’s not the same as what we have in the National Assembly, particularly, in the House of Representatives. When you talk about leadership of the two, the House of Representatives whereby with the grace of God and support of my colleagues I served as speaker and here that I am serving currently for the last 6 years as governor, there are two different constitutional roles and you are dealing with two different sets of people, if I may put it that way. Here, we have all those diversities that I mentioned, even here, some people are richer than you, some are older and more educated, but in terms of close contact and micromanagement, it is a different ball game, you are first among equals as speaker, in the state, you are the chief executive, not just first among equals. That alone tells you that the experiences are not the same and as governor, you deal more closely with the minute of the minute of the issues affecting the lives of the people. As governor, if somebody’s wife has a stillbirth, they will say it is you, if they take light in somebody’s compound, they will say it’s the governor, their tap is not running, they will say it’s the governor, it is not the same experience either as parliamentarian in the federal level or as speaker. That is why I said it’s two different worlds, two different experience. 


What are you missing? 


That relationship, that solidarity and working together like schoolmates, unlike here where I am the chief executive. Aside my deputy who was elected alongside with me, every other person is my appointee, it is part of what i am missing and, of course, the debates, when you are talking about and discussing national issues, bigger issues. 

Security is gradually becoming an issue, Sokoto has the history of being one of the most peaceful states, what is happening and what are you doing about it?

Let me give you a background of how we got to where we are. Unfortunately, Zamfara has been the epicenter of banditry and kidnapping in the northwest, most of the states including Niger really are getting the heat from Zamfara, what is the distance between Sokoto and Zamfara? Substantial part of almost about 14 local governments are either neighbouring Zamfara or Niger Republic, and with what is happening in the Sahel region which includes Mali, Niger, Central Africa Republic is permeating and creeping into Nigeria. Talking about banditry, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) and all of that, agents of instability that are carrying out their acts around the Sahel region have a way of coming into Nigeria through our porous borders. So by geography, being neighbours with Niger Republic, sharing common borders is part of it. 

Secondly being neighbors with Zamfara state, the epicenter of banditry and kidnapping in the northwest is part of it and to a large extent, especially, recently, the inability of the security agencies to coordinate their operations in Zamfara against our own advice as governors of about eight states that have met the President several times in the last three to four years, advised him and even advised the service chiefs that whenever they are going to undertake this large scale operation, it should be simultaneous, they should have a blocking force in parts of Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto simultaneously and carry out the the operation simultaneously, they didn’t do that.
Again, the timing of the operation at the peak of the rainy season. One, the forest is thick, two the military and security agencies do not have the equipment that can move into those difficult terrains, that also did not help matters, So whenever they carry out operations on the bandits in their camps, they pander towards our states that are opened and porous so instead of getting them and get done with them in Zamfara state, they disperse them into our states and most of those that come in to attack our people, most of them are as a result of those operations recently. Another factor is also the fact that as I have said, they do not have enough to carry out the operations, I mean the security services, no enough manpower, no enough equipment, firepower. So it’s not as if it is about the people of Sokoto state, it’s more having to do with the situation with our neighbours. And talking about what we have done, there have been a lot of synergy with government an the security agencies in Sokoto state from the beginning. 

I must commend them, they have been working together and we have been working together with them in terms of addressing the challenge. We do the much that we could and we are still doing because there was never a time any of those security agencies approach us for support without getting it. In the last four to five years, we have given out not less than 500 vehicles to security services in Sokoto state, it is on record. How many states have done that? As I said, we pay them their allowances from our coffers and we are up to date in the payment of those allowances. You can check what I am telling you, we have refurbished for the police virtually all their divisional police headquarters in Sokoto state. 

We are building about 12 new ones for them, we have given them every support, coming up with a framework of engagement with His Eminence, the Sultan, the traditional institutions and other leaders, community support and all of that is being galvanized by the government and Sultan-in-council. So we are not sleeping, we have a standing committee headed by the Sultan, you know he is a retired general, that is also working on the issue of security in the state. We hold regular stakeholders’ meetings, even three days ago, we held one when we introduced yet another measure of outlawing a self-styled vigilante that was coming up. They called it El-zakee because they were part of the problem in Zamfara state. A few individuals without any cooperation from any authority will just form themselves into self help vigilante, they will start going from hamlet to hamlet identifying Fulani’s and just killing them and attacking them. So we outlawed them, it is part of the measures we are taking. 
And when the government of Zamfara decided to go into that operation in collaboration with the military, I went on my own volition to Zamfara a few days to the commencement of the operation, and that was what they told me. I was there to condole with the family of Ambassador Adamu Umar, my boss under whose tutelage I passed through his law chambers. He died and I went to see his family so I went to see the governor in the Government House, that was when the governor informed me for the first time that such an operation was in the offing and there was need for us to also pass an executive order and certain measures to contain issues of movement of fuel, movement of motorcycles in certain areas and shutting down communication networks. 

So it was not as if we had discussed it with him before and yet we came here I convened the security council meeting and we agreed to adopt the same measure they adopted in Zamfara state through an executive order and we are doing quite a lot in terms of talking to the people, in terms of sensitizing the people, in terms of supporting the security forces, so it’s not as if we are sleeping. But certain times, these things happen because also we have problems with informants, members of communities who are now compromised and bought over by the bandits and criminals and they are collaborating with them.
They give them information on movement of security personnel and before you know it a security detachment that is going to carry out an operation is ambushed, so it is a whole lot of complex situation that we have been managing. But you know the limitations of every governor in Nigeria, they are very clear, they are very manifest so for anybody to begin to see it as if a governor is not doing what he ought to do, no governor can do more than what i have told you, I have not seen any governor who has taken a cutlass or a machet not to talk of a gun and pursue a bandit or a boko-haram in the bush, at best what we do is to support the security agencies and give support to IDPs, that is what we have been doing. 

Have you considered having a regional security outfit?


Over the years, we’ve had sub-regional governors’ meeting in the Northwest including Niger. At a point in time, each of us contributed N100 million as initial contributions for operations to be carried out by the military. This was 

almost five years back for those who are neighbours with Niger Republic, we have been having meetings with our colleagues from Niger Republic, we go there and they come here. So it’s not as if we have not been having regional cooperation. But we have not discussed forming a regional outfit because of the perception associated with that. Why we are working with the security is that we strengthen our vigilante at every state level and align them to work with the security services. The Amotekun and the Ebube Agu are not better than the vigilante, they are just similar versions of vigilante so what we are doing is to give them some training by the police and supporting the security services. 

Did the ban on open grazing by the southern state governors put pressure on Sokoto state?


Maybe because of the geography or the state or the climate, I can say that we have no pressure as a state as a result of that ban because we don’t have many cattle rearers from Sokoto moving around. Even if you leave Sokoto to the next neighbouring states, we dont have much of that. Herdsmen that are of Sokoto origin moving out of Sokoto, traveling to any other state we do not have it in the past and even now. 
So if they say herders should go back to their state, you will hardly find them coming back to Sokoto because they have not left here now, they are not from here, so they are not coming back here. But of course, we have Fulani’s in Sokoto, we have herders in Sokoto, we have grazing reserves in Sokoto, we have been trying to really upscale and modernize the grazing reserves for the herders and on top of that, we made a scheme by the past administration on animal husbandry and animal  insemination, the scheme was abandoned by the past administration.
There was a programme to import some species from Argentina, when we came in, we looked at it and realized that it is good, we took it and completed it and brought in some of these species, as we speak, we are having another consignment of those species from South Africa coming into Nigeria whereby we subsidise them to our farms and ranches and encourage people to go into ranching.  So we have for long been on ranching in Sokoto even before the federal government project of ranching came on board. So it is an issue that we have been living with, with all of its challenges. It’s not that we don’t have our issues with the herders and farmers in Sokoto. We have some of them coming from Niger Republic and we have been having fair share of that problem over the years, decades even centuries but we have been managing it. So also the local herders and farmers used to have their clashes and a number of their cases go to the traditional rulers or the courts and whoever is found wanting is made to pay compensation. 

You have been in the APC and in the PDP, can you compare both?

It is on record that the PDP, even the name has remained PDP right from 1998. The APC was formed as recently as 2014 and it is the amalgamation and coming together of about four to five political parties the CPC, the ACN, ANPP, nPDP and APGA with the sole objective mainly of taking out Jonathan, with so many strange bedfellows working together for that objective. Almost immediately after 2015 elections, problems began to manifest because the relationship was not cemented. I can tell you that virtually groups were still seeing themselves as what they were within the APC and even possibly until now, we don’t have that in the PDP. It has remained as one political party, whether you go in or out of it. It has not merged with any political party, that should be noted. And in terms of building political culture, we can at least say that the PDP has been there since 1998 with its positives and negatives, ups and downs, highs and lows you cannot say so of the APC. 

Oneworldvisionnews

Supreme Court to deliver judgment on Uche Secondus appeal.

The Supreme Court will tomorrow deliver judgement on the appeal filed by the sacked National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, asking the apex court to quash his removal from office.

Recall that the Appeal Court had on October, 29 struck out a suit filed by Secondus against the party’s national convention.

Secondus, who is challenging his removal from office, had approached the appellate court in Port Harcourt, demanding it to restrain the PDP from holding its 2021 National Convention which was later held on October 30 and 31.

But in a judgement delivered on the suit by a three-member panel, Justice Gabriel Kolawale said the court unanimously dismissed the application for lacking in merit.

Not satisfied with the judgement, Secondus immediately approached the Supreme Court and asked the apex court to void the appeal court’s ruling and return him as the PDP national chairman.

He also asked the apex court to declare that he is the only one who had the legal right to preside over the last national convention.

The sacked PDP chairman is also seeking an order declaring that his suspension at the ward level was not enough reason for him to vacate the office of the national chairman of the party.

Secondus asserted that his action is to avoid abuse of the party’s constitution, further impunity and disrespect of the core democratic principles of justice and rule of law.

But according to ThisDay, the Supreme Court will hear Secondus’ petitions on Monday, December 6 and may decide to rule on the matter tomorrow, or later within the week.

It is feared that if the Supreme Court grants Secondus’ prayers, the election of the members of the NWC and all other actions taken by the party in his absence will become null and void.

This fear may have informed the decision of the main opposition party to hurriedly shift the date of the swearing-in of the NWC members from December 9 to December 10.

Oneworldvisionnews

Drama as Nigeria Army arrest APC chieftain based on orders from Abuja.

The Akewugberu family in Oyo has accused the Nigerian Army of abducting a transporter and Oyo APC chief Moruf Akintunde, holding him incommunicado for weeks.

The family is appealing to Governor Seyi Makinde to secure his release, allegedly arrested by Operation Burst operatives 15 days ago.

Mr Akintunde was arrested in his residence at Alhaja Sara Street, Cele, in Oyo town at about 6:00 a.m. on November 18 and taken to an unknown destination.

Operation Burst is a security outfit of the Oyo government, consisting of the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Speaking with journalists in Ibadan on Wednesday evening, on behalf of the family, an Islamic cleric, Taofeek Akewugbagold, said no fewer than 40 fully armed security operatives invaded Akintunde’s residence on that day of his arrest.

The 52-year-old Akintunde is a transporter and an APC chieftain.

Mr Akewugbagold noted an urgent need for the state governor to intervene and help the family secure the release of Mr Akintunde.

It is exactly 15 days ago that my brother and father of four was taken away by the Nigerian Army in a vehicle belonging to the Oyo State security outfit codenamed ‘Operation Burst.

The cleric said the family got wind that Mr Akintunde was held at a military base in Abuja.

“I am here today to appeal to the Nigerian military to release my brother. He was arrested in our family house in Oyo Town 15 days ago and has yet to be released. The military men came with vehicles of Operation Burst,” Mr Akewugbagold added. “His son followed him to the Operation Burst office in Oyo, but we heard he had been taken to Abuja for reasons not known to us.

When contacted, Abubakar Adamu, the admin officer of Operation Burst, confirmed the arrest of Mr Akintunde.

According to him, the arrest followed a directive from Abuja.

I am aware of the arrest, but it is from Abuja. The family had contacted me, and I told them it was beyond us here. We received (a) signal to support them with logistics, and that was why we released our vehicles to carry out the operation, Mr Adamu explained. 

Oneworldvisionnews

CEO of Sakeliga, Piet Le Roux has said they are not in support of mandatory vaccination.

A Business right group in S.A, Sakeliga has said that they are not in support of the state backed compulsory or mandatory vaccination program, declaring that they are also against the use of force. The business rights group, Sakeliga, has decided to voice out its opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies in South Africa. Sakeliga’s CEO Piet le Roux says they are against the state using private entities to enforce arbitrary restrictions.

However, this is not the only group that has come out to rebuke the government’s compulsory and mandatory vaccination program. Some individuals disclosed that they would not mind dragging the government to a court of competent jurisdiction if they persist with the forced vaccination plan. Some people disclosed that the plan to enforce the vaccine is even more traumatic than Covid-19 itself.

Sakeliga through the Croatia disclosed that they can only support the government if it is on the ground of voluntary vaccination, disclosing that forced vaccination is totally out of the picture.

We are against mandatory vaccination policies by the state and the system of social monitoring the state and we are against the state using private entities to enforce its changing and arbitrary restrictions, says Le Roux. In South Africa, vaccine mandate is already trending since the last national address by President Cyril Ramaphosa regarding the outbreak of the omicron variant, saying that everyone must get vaccinated if South Africa must win the war against the virus. It also became imperative after some vaccinated individuals started reporting that it is the unvaccinated people that are responsible for the new variants that is emerging ie omicron and delta variants.

Of course the unvaccinated have come out to refute the claim, saying that most of the new cases of omicron discovered was among the vaccinated people as confirmed by the Botswana government issued circular. It’s been war of words between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in the country ever since

The main issue at stake is that the vaccinated are saying that those who are vaccinated are selfish and must be compelled to be vaccinated if the country must win the war against the virus. Some even urged the government to put them on lockdown until they comply. However, the unvaccinated ones are saying it is not their duty to protect the vaccinated, declaring that the vaccine was supposed to do that. 

Oneworldvisionnews

Police manhandle a civilian for questioning them in Kwara State.

Kwara State government under the leadership of Governor Abdulrazaq to contain banditry and insecurity in the state, a recent report  has revealed how some officers of the G Division Police in illorin, Kwara State reportedly arrested a man and manhandled him for questioning them.

The report has it that the said victim was arriving from his shop when the police officers stopped him and other motorcyclists and seized their motorcycles after informing them that the state government had restricted the operations of motorcycles after 10:00pm.

The man who was identified as Jamiu however tried to question the officers while explaining that it was only some minutes past 9:00pm but instead he was beaten up and dragged by the police officers to their station.

In the light of this development, it may interest us to recall how the Nigerian Police Force has always reiterated the need for every Nigerian to see the police as their friend and work towards supporting them in any possible way they can amid the fight against insecurity.

The NPF had always charged Nigerians to ask questions whenever they are confronted by an officer on duty so far they know they’re innocent, stressing that it’s part of their fundamental human rights.

Consequently, following the incident that took place in Kwara where Jamiu was reportedly beaten and arrested for questioning some officers on duty in the state, one wouldn’t be exaggerating when one says that the officers responsible for such acts inadvertently tried to rubbish the assertions that police is our friend.

Oneworldvisionnews

Boko Haram/ISWAP moves about N18bn ($36M) generated from trading and racing communities in Lake Chad region.

THE Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, established by the Economic Community of West African States, says Boko Haram splinter group, Islamic State West Africa Province, moved about N18bn ($36m) generated from trading and taxing communities in the Lake Chad region through the Nigerian financial system annually.

The group, set up by ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in 2000, stated that both Boko Haram and ISWAP had continued to mobilise, move and utilise funds through the nation’s formal financial and commercial system.

It noted that the government lacked adequate insight into Boko Haram and ISWAP international linkages and abuse of the formal financial and commercial sectors.

It said even though the Department of State Services had significant ability to identify and investigate terrorist financing activity, and that it even conducts parallel financial and terrorism investigation, there was little evidence of the effectiveness of such efforts.

The group, known as GIABA, stated these in its 2021 Mutual Evaluation Report, where it also noted that Nigeria lacked an explicit policy to confiscate proceeds of crime or property of equivalent value, including terrorism financing.

It also said the Nigerian government, led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), failed to confiscate the assets of terrorists as stipulated in the global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards.

Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram insurgency for about 12 years, during which thousands have been killed, including civilians and soldiers; several persons, including schoolchildren and women, were kidnapped with many still in captivity while millions have been displaced.

Meanwhile, the GIABA report was adopted by the global financial intelligence agency, Financial Action Task Force, whose recommendations help authorities to go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes.

The report stated, “Boko Haram/ISWAP pose significant TF (Terrorist Financing) risks that are challenging to disrupt, operating in large part outside the formal financial and commercial system in the conflict zone.

In these areas, Boko Haram and ISWAP are mainly able to “live off the land” through a variety of means, including kidnapping for ransom, extortion and taxation, raiding and controlling commercial activity.

As with other forms of illicit financial activity, the pervasive use of cash enables these groups’ funding. A study estimated ISWAP’s revenues, deemed larger than Boko Haram’s, at up to USD$36m annually, much of it from trading activity and taxation in the Lake Chad region.

According to Nigerian authorities, both groups have also continued to mobilise, move and utilise funds through the formal financial and commercial system as well, accounting for a relatively small portion of TF activity. These groups also engage in international trafficking activities and as sworn adherents to the Islamic State, also have links with other regional and global terrorist networks.

The authorities believe that any external support from ISIS Core may account for a small portion of ISWAP’s overall revenues. However, trade with broader criminal networks that could extend to regional jihadist organisations appears to generate significant income for both Boko Haram and ISWAP.

The Financial Action Task Force assessment noted that the Nigerian authorities did not prioritise terrorism financing investigations, as there were only a few terrorist financing prosecutions and convictions, which do not reflect the country’s risk profile in terrorist financing.

Notably, no individual, body or corporation has been convicted in Nigeria for funding terrorism since the insurgency started in 2009.

The Task Force said in the assessment, “Nigeria has a significant but incomplete understanding of its TF (terrorist financing) threats and risks. It lacks adequate insight into Boko/ISWAP’s international linkages and abuse of the formal financial and commercial sector. The authorities do not prioritise TF investigations, as there are only a few TF prosecutions and convictions which do not reflect Nigeria’s TF risk profile.

The Department of State Services, Nigeria’s lead counter-terrorism agency, has significant ability to identify and investigate TF activity. It conducts parallel financial investigations in conjunction with terrorism investigations. However, there is little evidence of the effectiveness of such efforts.

The content of TF-related Suspicious Transactions Reports submitted to the NFIU (Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit) has not been of demonstrable value, appearing to add little to Nigeria’s CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) efforts. The agency maintained that Nigeria did not demonstrate effective legal and operational frameworks for seeking international cooperation, including for the recovery and repatriation of assets.

Nigeria did not demonstrate that it prioritises and provides constructive information or assistance, including adequate, accurate and current basic and beneficial owner information of legal persons promptly.

It noted that the nation recently enacted the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2019 to streamline processes for mutual legal assistance

The financial task force observed that the larger commercial banks and those affiliated with international groups have a good understanding of money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

In contrast, it submitted that the non-bank financial sector such as bureau de change, microfinance banks and insurance intermediaries have a low level of understanding of money laundering and terrorism financing risks, stressing that the level of supervision of registered/licensed forex dealers was not commensurate with the risk of the sector.

At the same time, thousands of forex dealers operate informally and are entirely unsupervised,’’ the GIABA report affirmed.

Already, the Central Bank of Nigeria in July suspended sale of forex to BDCs due to what it termed illegal activities and corrupt tendencies. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said Nigeria was the only country selling foreign exchange to BDCs.

He said the apex bank sustained the practice because of the role the BDCs played in the economy, but that it was disappointing to find that they turned themselves into agents that facilitated graft and corruption in Nigeria, which necessitated their suspension.

About 400 BDC operators and traders were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zamfara for alleged money laundering and terrorism financing by security agencies in March while 190 others nabbed for alleged link to terrorism reportedly paid N900m in penalties before they were allowed to return to their business.

Months after they were apprehended and despite promises by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the suspects have not been arraigned or prosecuted.

Speaking on the delayed arraignment of the 400 BDC operators and traders, the media aide to the AGF, Dr Umar Gwandu, told Oneworldnews, that “The prosecution process is ongoing; the Federal Government continues to do the needful within the provisions of the extant laws in its doggedness to fight money laundering.”

Gwandu had told Oneworldnews in May 2021 that the prosecution of the arrested BDCs operators would commence as soon as possible.

Also responding to GIABA assessment, Gwandu told our correspondent, “The Federal Government will access, study and assess the report. The Federal Government will make its position known after critical examination of the content of the report.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has sent a delegation to London to engage with the Financial Action Task Force over the negative assessment.

A source told our correspondent that they learnt the delegation, led by the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Sector Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagu, was presently holding talks with FATF officials in England.

The government is worried by the negative assessment and is working to prevent possible sanctions on Nigeria. The Attorney-General has dispatched a team to London to hold talks with the FATF and prevent serious sanctions on Nigeria which may impact our global standing, the source noted.

Findings showed that the FATF was considering sanctions against Nigeria for failing to comply with the global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards.

In 2017, the FATF suspended Nigeria’s membership of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units due to the lack of legal framework and autonomy for the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, which was then an arm of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The suspension was lifted in 2018 and Nigeria was readmitted into the Egmont Group, after the country fulfilled the requirements of the organization, a global body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units that facilitates the exchange of financial intelligence, expertise and capability against money laundering, terrorism financing and financial crime.

Sunday Oneworldnews reports that the mutual evaluation report was released in August and subsequently adopted by the GIABA member states of which Nigeria is a member.

The assessment stated that the EFCC and other enforcement agencies did not prioritise money laundering investigations but focused primarily on money laundering predicate offences.

The West African financial intelligence watchdog in its evaluation of Nigeria further said the use of financial intelligence by law enforcement agencies remains limited due to the low level of feedback to the NFIU, limited scope of entities that file suspicious transaction reports, lack of reporting on cross-border movement of bearer negotiable instruments, inbound cross-border movement of currency disclosures due to the low level of implementation of these systems and the limited scope of institutions from which the NFIU requests additional information to support its analysis.

GIABA said, Nigeria lacks an explicit policy to confiscate the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime or property of equivalent value. The country did not demonstrate effective seizure and confiscation of all types of proceeds and instrumentalities of crime, including terrorism financing.

The legal framework is deficient on asset-sharing and formal arrangements for assets sharing with foreign countries for purposes of restitution. The authorities have not effectively utilised the physical cross-border declaration system to seize or confiscate falsely declared or undeclared currency and bearer negotiable instruments.

While acknowledging steps taken by Nigeria to increase its risk understanding of money laundering and terrorism financing threats, the evaluation stated that the country’s depth and sophistication of its understanding of key money laundering risks, including of corruption and fraud, legal persons, (including free zone enterprises) and politically exposed persons are underdeveloped, considering their complexity, materiality and scope.

The agency also highlighted the lack of coordination among the security agencies, stating that the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions for money laundering was inconsistent with the key findings.

It said, Several agencies are designated to investigate and prosecute money laundering cases. However, there is limited or lack of coordination among these agencies. Law enforcement agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, do not prioritise ML (money laundering) investigations and focus primarily on ML predicate offences.

There are also technical compliance deficiencies related to Recommendation 3. As a result, stand-alone ML offences are not pursued, nor are those related to foreign predicate offences. The number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions for ML is inconsistent with the risk profile of the country. There is no reliable data to determine if the sanctions applied to natural and legal persons for ML are proportionate and dissuasive.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agencies, including the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, EFCC and the police did not respond to questions on the GIABA assessment of their activities as their spokespersons kept mum when contacted on Saturday.

Emefiele had said at a Monetary Policy Committee meeting on September 17 in Abuja, “We have unwittingly supported activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country, go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them back into the country and commit crimes whether it is Boko Haram, kidnapping or all sorts of nefarious activities. We cannot do that any longer.

The NFIU however said on September 24 that it had information on the sale of foreign exchange to fund terrorism in the country and that it had launched a manhunt for the perpetrators. It said it had achieved some breakthroughs in recent times through intelligence gathering on the illicit transaction.

Speaking at a three-day workshop organised in Lagos by GIABA, the Associate Director, Intelligence and Investigation Support, NFIU, Mrs Biola Shotunde, said, “Yes, we have intelligence gathering that shows us those patterns and we have worked on that. We have used such intelligence appropriately and that is why we have recorded some successes. Our engagement with other agencies is enormous and proactive. It is an ongoing effort and we are becoming stronger.

She, however, did not go into details when asked the number of persons arrested in connection with the crime.

Commenting on the assessment, a Security and Risk Management Consultant, Kabir Adamu, said there was a need for the AGF and other stakeholders to look critically at the report and comply with the GIABA provisions and recommendations.

He stated, On the finances of terrorists and money laundering, the report has spoken out clearly on the gaps that currently exist and some of these gaps are the result of lack of efforts by some of these organisations. So, a coordinated implementation of the recommendations would go a long way towards addressing both money laundering and terrorism financing.

It is not difficult to see the clarity of the functions of this report; 12 years into our counter-terrorism campaign, the two groups, especially ISWAP that was mentioned in that report, are still active. They are still able to raise funds, recruit (fighters) and buy weapons. I think a closer look at this report and its recommendations would definitely help us in addressing these two major areas – money laundering and terrorism financing.

Also, a security analyst, Ben Okezie, called for an investigation into how Boko Haram and ISWAP were moving illicit funds through the nation’s financial system. He added that the activities of BDCs operators should be closely scrutinised.

What should be done is to thoroughly investigate our financial institutions to know how this money was being laundered and what it was being used for. When we allow a parallel financial institution called bureau de change to operate without control or supervision, these are the issues that crop up. They become conduit for terrorist groups. The security agencies should look into this and bring them to book.

On the poor coordination among the law enforcement agencies pointed out by GIABA, Okezie noted, “We have said this for a long time and I have also written about this in my column. The President should come in and make sure the agencies work in synergy.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and others coordinate; they exchange intelligence and that is why they could track down Osama bin Laden. Here, the DSS wants to receive public applause, the police, the same thing; the ICPC is not cooperating with the EFCC. These are the problems we are having. Until they collaborate, the situation will not. change.

Oneworldvisionnews

(ISWAP) terror organization desperately fought to gain access into Buni Yadi with dreaded weapons on modified gun trucks.

The armed fighters from the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terror organization desperately fought to gain access into Buni Yadi with dreaded weapons on modified gun trucks.

The members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in a failed attempt to invade Buni Yadi, attacked a station belonging to the Nigerian Police Force. The pictures of the attack on Buni Yadi was released by the deadly group to show that they attacked Buni Yadi.

From the pictures released, it can be seen that a faction of heavily armed fighters with RPG’s, modified gun trucks and armed vehicles, of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) started the attack on the Nigerian Police Force station located in Buni Yadi, Borno State.

From an analysis of the pictures released, a gun truck was modified to carry a 73mm “2A28 Grom” cannon captured from a Nigerian Army BMP-1 vehicle.

Another gun truck without a roof was modified to tow an OTO MELARA Mod 56 howitzer which was also captured from the Nigerian Army.

Furthermore, members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) can be seen with type 80 machine guns, type 56 rifles and RPG-7 launchers with PG-7VM projectiles, etc

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More US states find Omicron cases, world on high alert.

Six more US states confirmed infections of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday but the Delta strain likely remains a greater threat as winter sets in and Americans gather for the holidays, experts said.

New Jersey, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Utah each reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Friday. Missouri was awaiting CDC confirmation of a case involving a St. Louis resident who had recently travelled within the United States.

Canada has discovered a total of 15 cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 and severe illness trends across the country could start to rise again, public health officials said on Friday.

The federal government said it backed a recommendation of a national advisory board on immunisations that all adults above 50 should receive a booster shot six months after completion of a vaccine series.

Ottawa announced last week it will require people arriving by air from all nations except the United States to take a COVID-19 test, and it expanded a ban on travellers from southern Africa to cover 10 nations.

Scientists are still investigating the impact of the highly contagious Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa. Early evidence has suggested it may cause milder illness than its predecessors, including Delta.

The outbreak of Omicron has made worldwide headlines and prompted political leaders to impose new COVID-19 restrictions. But the predominant U.S. strain remains Delta, Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a briefing at the White House.

The Utah case was discovered through ongoing genetic sequencing of positive COVID-19 samples at the state laboratory, the state’s health department said on Twitter.

The Omicron coronavirus variant spread in Australia on Saturday, testing plans to reopen the economy as a cluster in Sydney grew to 13 cases and an infection was suspected in the state of Queensland.

Federal authorities are sticking with a plan to reopen the economy on the hope that the new variant proves to be milder than previous strains, but some state and territory governments have moved to tighten their domestic border controls.

Australia reported its first community transmission of Omicron on Friday at a school in Sydney. Authorities are investigating the source.

Further Omicron cases were expected over the weekend when more tests results come, said Kerry Chant, chief health officer of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital.

Queensland authorities said the state suspected its first Omicron case in a person who travelled from South Africa and that genome sequencing was ongoing.

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Tenants rebuilding or renovating their properties in Al Quoz get 2-year rent exemption.

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, has issued directives that the tenants who are rebuilding or renovating their properties in Al Quoz Creative Zone are exempted from rents for up to two years.

This in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to raise the emirate’s position as an international cultural destination and transform it into the global capital of the creative economy by 2025,

The move aims to transform the area into a comprehensive integrated creative zone that attracts talent from across the world.

The whole initiative is a part of the framework of the 100-day plan for the Al Quoz Creative Zone development project.

Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and a member of the Dubai Council, heads the project’s higher committee.

Sheikha Latifa has identified priority actions to be undertaken to develop the zone.

The 100-day plan for the Al Quoz Creative Zone development project has also set goals and indicators to advance the project’s two pillars: infrastructure and support for creatives

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