President Muhammadu Buhari has signed three bills into law, to improve the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing framework.
Buhari assented to the bills on Thursday at the Council Chamber in Abuja.
The bills include the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.
Buhari said the bills were in tandem with his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption and illicit financing activities, as well as critical to the governance agenda and the development of Nigeria.
“The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises,” he said.
“We will not rest until we rid the nation of the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.”
“The signing of these Bills into law today strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in the Country.
“It also addresses the deficiencies identified in Nigeria’s 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation as assessed by Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force global standards.”
Buhari said the repeal of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and the enactment of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 provided a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria.
He added that it also confers the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the legal status of the special control unit against money laundering.
According to him, the laws provided for the effective implementation of international instruments for the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism.
He said the enactment of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 makes comprehensive provisions for the seizure, confiscation, forfeiture, and management of properties derived from unlawful activity.
Buhari revealed that the executive arm of government “carefully avoided creating another asset recovery and management agency with its cost implications in deference to government’s sensitivity to the rising cost of governance”.
He said the new law mandates the creation of dedicated accounts for the proceeds of crime and other confiscated assets, to enhance the accountability of the process.
“I have therefore taken time to note the emphasis placed on collaboration, synergy, and unification of strategies and measures to combat the scourge of Money Laundering and terrorism financing and proliferation financing in the Act,” he said.
“The primary objectives of these measures are to ensure an effective, unified, and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the implementation of the Acts.
“This is profound and calls for coordinated responses to the challenges posed by the menace.
“I, therefore, charge all relevant agencies to ensure effective implementation of these new laws.
“The robust frameworks diligently enshrined in the Acts can only serve useful purposes when every bit of them is enforced.”
Buhari who said the fight against corruption required an “all of government, all of the nation approach’’, stressed that every Nigerian had a role to play to rid the country of corrupt practices.
He added that the bills, signed into law, represented not just legislative instruments but very significant governmental actions projecting courage, determination, and sincerity in tackling the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
Buhari also commended the national assembly for the tenacity, courage, and commitment to ensuring that Nigeria put in place effective measures to address the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and its financing.
He lauded the assembly under Ahmed Lawan, senate president, and the Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker, house of representatives, and their colleagues for responding to his request, saying they “have certainly carved out a worthy legacy for themselves”.
Buhari further assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to do its best to secure the nation.
“The bills are a clear demonstration of government functioning at its best with coordination, collaboration, and execution, all towards a common goal,” he said.