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ECOWAS restates commitment to fighting money laundering, terrorism financing



COVID-19, 40 other outbreaks top regional diseases in 2021- WAHO

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) says it will continue to strengthen regional efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing.

GIABA is an ECOWAS specialised institution responsible for the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa.

GIABA’s Director-General, Justice  Kimelabalou Aba, who made the assertion on Tuesday in Lagos, said that the organisation would continue to work with critical stakeholders in the region.

Aba spoke at the opening of a  three-day national training workshop on: “Prevention of Cross Border Bulk Cash Smuggling”.

He was represented by GIABA’s Financial Sector Officer, Mr Giwa Sechap.

“The devastating effects of money laundering and terrorism financing on regional socio-economic development and security call for greater commitment and collaboration, particularly among border authorities.

“On our part, we commit to continue to engage with all critical stakeholders in the region.

“We will continue to provide the required technical support to ensure effective implementation of the currency and Bearer Negotiable Instrument (BNI) declaration regime in order to strengthen regional efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing,” he said.

Aba said that the workshop was meant to strengthen the capacities of the participants in monitoring cross-border cash movements.

He said that the workshop would improve capacities of relevant authorities to monitor  flow of illicit funds as well as detect and disrupt terrorists’ funds.

He added that it would strength cooperation and collaboration among authorities ineffective management of cross-border cash and BNI movements.

Mr Tukur Moddibo, Director and Chief  Executive Officer of Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said that loopholes in the nation’s enforcement and intelligence systems should be addressed.

Moddibo was represented by Mrs Biola Shotunde, NFIU’s Associate Director of Intelligence and Investigation.

“As the world becomes more connected, with trade, capital and people moving across borders, the importance of putting measures in place to identify, investigate and convict illicit funds and activities have assumed a much greater dimension.

“Crime across the world remains a largely cash-based activity; criminals will seek all opportunities to move cash, precious metals and high value goods across borders to cloud their illicit proceeds and fund their criminal activities.

”To address these threats, robust intelligence exchange among our agencies is necessary, and this intelligence must flow two ways.

“Customs can benefit from the broad range of intelligence held by FIU and its ability to track financial flows locally and internationally, while FIU can benefit from customs experience and field intelligence,” he said.

Moddibo said that it was important for relevant agencies to be properly trained.

He said that the workshop would provide a high level of awareness, analytical tools and renewed commitment to securing borders.

In his remarks, the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, said that no effort should be spared in curbing cross-border bulk cash smuggling.

Represented by Elton Edorhe, Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs and Head of Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Ali described the workshop as timely

He said that the workshop came at a time when ECOWAS was facing trans-border crimes of kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and others.

“There is no doubt that all these crimes are linked to cross-border smuggling of cash.

“Therefore, every effort aimed at stemming the tide of cross-border bulk cash smuggling should be encouraged,” he said,

The newsmen report that the three-day workshop is being attended by  Nigeria Customs Service, NFIU and GIABA officials.



Health and Safety

Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ



Troops Neutralise 192 Terrorists, Apprehend 341 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters says troops have in the last one week neutralised 192 terrorists, apprehended 341 others and rescued 62 kidnapped hostages.

It also said a total of 122 ISWAP/JAS terrorists surrendered with their families.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a news briefing on operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also recovered 211 assorted weapons and 6,288 assorted ammunition within the week.

He said the recovered items comprised 128 AK.47 rifles, 26 Dane guns, 1,301 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3,260 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 1,325 live cartridges, and 140 rounds of 9mm ammunition among other items.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised 71 terrorists, arrested 143 suspects and rescued 58  kidnapped hostages during the week.

He added that the air component conducted air strikes on ISWAP/JAS terrorists’ hideouts and logistics hub, including their food processing unit in Kolleram village, along Lake Chad.

According to him, the Battle Damage Assessment revealed that over 30 terrorists, including senior commanders; Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari, were neutralised as well as their logistics were destroyed as a result of the strike.

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 29 insurgents, arrested 53 violent extremists and rescued eight kidnapped hostages.

In the North West, he said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralised 62 terrorists, arrested 49 terrorists and rescued 36 kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops of Operation Whirl Punch arrested 14 criminals and recovered cache of arms and ammunition as well as military accoutrements.

According to him, other items recovered are 620 parcels of substances suspected to be marijuana, 10 Yoruba Nation flags, eight mobile phones, and four handheld radios, among other items.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe had maintained momentum against activities of crude oil theft and recovered 792,660 litres of stolen crude oil and 117,070 litres of illegally refined AGO.

He added that troops discovered and destroyed 31 illegal refining sites with 99 dugout pits, 11 boats, 29 storage tanks, 192 cooking ovens and nine vehicles.

According to him, troops apprehended 27 suspected oil thieves and other violent extremists, recovering five weapons and 162 assorted ammunition.

In the South-East, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operation UDOKA neutralised nine terrorists, arrested 11 violent extremists, rescued 17 kidnapped hostages and recovered weapons. 

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Health and Safety

Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi



Joint Security Team Rescues 2 Kidnapped Victims in Kebbi

A joint security team deployed to Suru and Maiyama local government areas of Kebbi on Tuesday rescued two persons abducted by suspected bandits in the areas.

The operation was conducted by operatives of the Nigerian Army, NSCDC, DSS and vigilante groups.

Confirming the story to newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the Director in charge of the Security Service, Cabinet Office, AbdulRahman Zagga, attributed the success to the support of Gov. Nasir Idris in providing all the necessary tools to the agencies.

“Following the consistent efforts of the Kebbi Governor, Dr Nasir Idris in supporting the security agencies operating in the state, a joint team of security operatives on Tuesday successfully rescued two kidnapped victims.

“The operation was successful; we were able to follow the bandits from Giro forest to Boma and down to Zugu Liba forest where the victims were rescued,” he said.

The director said that the kidnappers could no longer withstand the security pressure, thereby, abandoning the kidnapped victims.

He explained that the rescued victims were handed over to the village head and the vigilante chairman of Zugu Liba village for them to be reunited with their families.

He called on the people to support the security operatives with useful information that would assist in effectively discharging their duty of curtailing the challenges of insecurity in the state. 

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Health and Safety

NDLEA Destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Drugs in Lagos, Ogun



NDLEA destroys 304,436kg, 40,042 litres of drugs in Lagos, Ogun

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Tuesday in Ibereko Badagry, Lagos, destroyed 304,436 kg and 40,042 litres of illicit substances seized from parts of Lagos and Ogun States.

The Chairman of the Agency, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa (Rtd), said the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in adherence with court orders.

Marwa called for more public support for the ongoing efforts by the NDLEA and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Though a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court, “ the NDLEA boss said.

The chairman noted that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types.

According to him, they include illicit drugs in solid and liquid states, as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He said the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states, from January 2022 till date, especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

“To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055kg and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs.

“The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld,” he noted.

Marwa appreciated the traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs, as well as other stakeholders, who witnessed the ceremony.

The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr Olusegun Onilude, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the NDLEA in tackling the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

“Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos State Government appreciates the NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs.

“The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried,” he stated.

Sanwo-Olu also commended the agency for taking the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) social advocacy campaign to schools and communities across the state.

“No doubt, NDLEA is working, and the state will continue to collaborate with the agency and its leadership,” he assured.

It was reported that Marwa on Monday in Lagos, announced that 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, have been arrested in the last three years.

He also said that within the period, the agency successfully prosecuted and convicted 9,034 of them, as well as seized over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances.

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