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Senate joins Rep to pass NFIU bill

10 March 2018

The house of representatives has passed the bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an autonomous body.

The Bill was earlier passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

"The version passed by the Senate is called the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency bill, while the one passed by the House is Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and the House version was adopted".

Ahead of its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between March 11 and March 16, Nigeria is expected to make NFIU independent in order to avoid expulsion.

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The passage of the legislation is key to Nigeria's membership of the Egmont Group, an informal network of 156 financial intelligence units (FIUs).

For the House, The Eagle Online gathered that it would be the first issue for consideration this morning.

It will be recalled that Nigeria is now serving a suspension from Egmont Group, a body of 154 financial intelligence units, FIUs across the world, which provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Nigeria is now on suspension from the group over the lack of autonomy for the NFIU.

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NFIU was operating under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before it was suspended by Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in July 2017 for not being independent.

Parliament's move comes after the Egmont Group, a body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units across the world, threatened to delist Nigeria unless the local unit gained autonomy, enabling it to deal with financial crimes more effectively. What used to obtain was a hybrid type where you have enforcement as well as administrative functions put together because it was domiciled in the EFCC.

The NFIU is to be a directorate to be headed by a director to be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, subject to confirmation by the senate.

The Senate President urged the President to immediately sign the bill into law to prevent Nigeria's expulsion from the group.

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Both lawmakers, according to Senator Utazi, however, met on Monday evening and came up with the report.

Senate joins Rep to pass NFIU bill