Egmont Group threat: Senate passes Conference report on NFIA bill

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"There were differences in what the two committees passed, a conference committee was therefore constituted to reconcile and harmonise the differences".

According to him, the unit will also disseminate financial intelligence reports to security enforcement and intelligence agencies and other relevant authorities.

Kayode Oladele, chairman of the house committee on financial and economic crimes, had presented the report to the house during plenary.

The Senate on Wednesday joined the House of Representatives and approved the conference committee report on a bill that will grant autonomy to Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

"Hence, today's passage of the Conference Committee Report of the Bill is aimed at ensuring that we comply with worldwide best practices, so that we will be able to access the financial intelligence data of the EGMONT Group".

However, the bill as passed by the House of Representatives has transferred the NFIU from the EFCC to the CBN.

Contributing, Sen. Foster Ogola, (Bayelsa-PDP) emphasised the importance of the bill and the need to expedite action on it.

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"It is important that we consider the report tomorrow so that Nigeria will be out of the suspension and be counted among the comity of nations in the EGMONT Group", he said. "I hope on the part of the executive, they will quickly assent and ensure the independence of the Financial Intelligence Unit goes beyond signing into law".

"I want to thank the members of the committees in the fight against corruption because our suspension from the EGMONT group has a lot of ramifications. Additionally, it is important that beyond the establishment of the law, Nigeria's Financial Intelligence Unit will truly be independent".

The bill if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari will make the NFIU independent of EFCC.

"The financial intelligence bill that we just passed does not give police power to sanction if there is disobedience to its directives".

The new law makes the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit an independent body able to share information with counterparts overseas.

He warned that failure to pass the bill ahead of the next Egmont Group meeting would cause a major economic crisis for Nigeria.

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