Maureen Chigbo, publisher of Realnews, an online paper, has decried Nigeria’s loss of about $18billion yearly to illicit financial flows through the banking sector, despite the effort of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and other regulatory institutions in the sector to curb it.
Chigbo, who is also President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, spoke at Realnews’ 11th Anniversary Lecture on Tuesday in Lagos.
She noted that Nigeria is one of the 23 countries ranked as non-co-operative in the combined efforts to fight money laundering globally, since its establishment in 2003.
The publisher said that her organisation zeroed in on “Threats of Illicit funds flow to the African Economy” this year because of its “deep concern about the nefarious effect of illicit funds flow on the economy, resulting in dwindling revenue for Africa governments.”
She recalled that Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC) last month had painted a gory picture of impact of illicit funds flow, stating that Nigeria lost $18 billion yearly to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) through the banking sector.
According to Rafsanjani, “The banking industry 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.
This illicit act embedded into a legal trade has pervaded both the national and international business and banking industry with unabated vigor. 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.
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.
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 down on our Guest Lecturer today because of his pedigree.
“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 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.
Her words: “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.”