The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday,8th May, 2019 passed a Motion that called on financial institutions across the nation to support and adhere to the implementation of the new guidelines issued by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). The Senate, also called on the Federal Government to immediately ensure the proper funding of the Unit, so that it can earn the trust and confidence of Nigerians and its international partners.
The resolution, which was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North), also stated that the new NFIU guidelines will reinforce the existence of local governments across the nation as independent arms of government established by the Constitution at the grassroots level with their own sovereign elected officials.
Recall that earlier this month, the NFIU had announced new guidelines, which stated that the joint account system that is in place in most states of the federation, will only exist for the receipt of allocations, however, it will not be in place for the disbursement of funds.
The new guidelines specifically state that the State Joint Local Government Account is only a collection account of funds to be shared to LGAs, and not for any other transactions or purposes.
The new guideline will also limit cash transactions in the accounts of local governments to a daily maximum of N500,000, however, this will not suggest any changes to the approval limits or thresholds of elected council chairmen, councillors, or elected State Governors.
The Senate further resolved to urge all 36 State Governments to fully support the implementation of the new NFIU guidelines, while calling for a Constitutional Amendment that will deepen democracy at the Local Government level.
Speaking on the passage of the Bill, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said:
“This is a very important motion that addresses two things. First of all, we talked about the Local Government administration, which has been an issue of great concern. For some of us that have had the opportunity to be Governors and also Legislators, it is clear that a few bad eggs tend to give the system a bad name in this area.
Apart from all this, there must be an interface between National Assembly and the Governors. We should allow local governments to have their autonomy. I think it is important because it is clear that this is affecting the administration of local governments areas. So, I hope that State Assemblies would be able to make the necessary arrangements but it would require working with the Governors,” Saraki said.
The Senate President also highlighted that the current work of the NFIU, was a testament to the 8th National Assembly’s work to aid the fight against corruption.
“Truly, we must commend the NFIU. Within less than two months, it has began to bring value to the nation. This Unit, that is a creation of the National Assembly, because we pushed to see it happen, is already benefiting the nation.
“We remember when we started this process, it took a lot of courage to push it through and we can now see the benefit in both the private sector; with the international community now lifting suspensions; and with Nigerian being upgraded.
“So, I would like to commend the NIFU to continue along these lines to ensure that there is a more transparent way of administrating at all levels. I thank Sen. Aliyu Sabi for this, and the committee on Anti Corruption and Committee on State and Local Governments must find a way of monitoring to see that this really does happen,” the Senate President said.
Media Office of the Senate President