Publisher and Editor of Realnews magazine, Maureen Chigbo, has expressed worry over Nigeria’s annual loss of $18 billion to illicit financial flows (IFF), through the banking sector, despite the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other regulating institutions in the sector.
Speaking at the Realnews 11th Anniversary Lecture yesterday, November 7, in Lagos, Chigbo, who is also the President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), said that Nigeria is one of the 23 countries that have been tagged as non-co-operative in the combined efforts to fight money laundering globally, since its establishment in 2003.
According to her, Realnews has developed zero tolerance to the Threats of Illicit funds flow to the African Economy.
This, she sai, has caused “our deep concern about the nefarious effect of illicit funds flow on the economy, resulting in dwindling revenue for Africa governments.”
Chigbo recalled that the executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, on October 22, painted a gory picture of impact of illicit funds flow.
She quoted him as saying that Nigeria lost $18 billion yearly to illicit financial flows (IFFs) through the banking sector despite the effort of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other regulating institution in the sector to curb it.
“Rafsanjani also the head of Transparency International (TI) Nigeria said that Nigeria was one of the 23 countries ranked as non-co-operative in the combined efforts to fight money laundering globally, since its establishment in 2003.
“According to Rafsanjani, The banking sector has been largely implicated in money laundering where they have been instrumental in the initial entry or placement phase that involves the initial movement of an amount of money earned from criminal activity into some legitimate financial network or institution.”
Chigbo said that this illicit act embedded into a legal trade has pervaded both the national and international business and banking industry with unabated vigor. She said that Rafsanjani is of the view that adequate measures is needed to sanitize the nation’s financial system by helping to prevent money laundering and illicit financial flows (IFFs) through which terrorism is largely funded, to effectively tax bank executives, and to expose illegal financial transactions by full disclosures.
Maureen Chigbo said that the anniversary lecture series is one way Realnews contributes to nation-building and development by providing a forum for policy change-oriented discussions by professionals, scholars, technocrats and decision-makers on the way forward for our great nation and Africa in general.
According to her, the lecture series since 2014 have focused on elections, economy, security, challenges of Leadership in Africa, Africa’s political transitions oil and gas, unfolding integration of the African Market, and drug abuse among youths in Africa.
“Based on these facts, we began a search for the best brain to deal with the theme.
“We narrowed it down on our Guest Lecturer today, because of his pedigree. I have no doubt that he will do justice to the topic of this lecture.
“We have also a carefully selected panel of discussants with relevant expertise, knowledge and experience to shed more lights on the topic,” she said.
Chigbo appealed to her colleagues to ensure that the message from the lecture today is heard in Africa and beyond, assuring that Realnews will ensure that it will do its part by giving the widest publicity to this important lecture and the discussions.
“Realnews boasts a crop of seasoned journalists who believe strongly in the tenets and ethics of the profession. We are convinced that journalism as the Fourth Estate of the Realm can contribute to building a free, fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and where citizens enjoy the freedom to pursue their interests without let or hindrance. Our motto at Realnews is: “For God and Humanity”, she added.