UPDATED: Senate passes NFIA bill which limits EFCC’s powers

Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

The Senate has passed the bill to establish to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency thus implementing the first step in pulling the country’s financial intelligence unit out of the control of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The bill was passed after it was read for the third time today, just the fourth legislative day since it was first initiated last Thursday.

The bill was earlier referred to the committee on anti-corruption on Tuesday. However, without the usual public hearing, organised to consider opinions of concerned parties on any public related subject, the report of the committee was presented on Wednesday and the bill passed on Thursday.

The Senate said the bill was given accelerated consideration to help Nigeria avoid expulsion from the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units, which had suspended it over the absence of a legal framework that guarantees the independence of the Nigerian unit.

For the bill to become law, it has to be passed by the House of Representatives, and signed into law by the President or vetoed by the lawmakers.

It would also be recalled that on the day the Senate made moves to separate the two entities, the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, inaugurated a committee to ‘reposition the unit.’

Different from the Senate’s position, which is total independence, Mr. Magu prefers a financial intelligence unit that will be “expressly autonomous”, but remains within the anti-graft agency.

At the moment, the NFIU helps tackle money laundering and monitor financial flows, task eased by its membership of the Egmont Group whose members share intelligence relating to international finance and illicit flow.

But, according to the Senate, the financial intelligence outfit’s continued existence under the EFCC without separate statutory status will affect the confidentiality and utilisation of the information it receives, its operations in terms of compelling compliance from regulators; and power to task security agencies to act on intelligence it receives.

These are the concerns that formed the background of Nigeria’s suspension from the Egmont group, the Senate insists.

It expressed belief the new bill for the independence of the intelligence unit would lead to the reversal of the suspension.

The lawmakers and the EFCC chairman have had a stormy relationship over the last few weeks over the unwillingness of the presidency to relieve Mr. Magu of his job after two rejections of his confirmation by the Senators.

The lawmakers are citing unfavourable security reports for the rejection while the presidency insists Mr. Magu is the man for the job.

Mr. Magu has always maintained his innocence.

Timeline of action

  • Wednesday, July 19: Senate vowed EFCC-NFIU total separationand asked its anti-corruption committee to initiate bill within four weeks.
  • Thursday, July 20: NFIA bill initiatedby Chukwuka Utazi, anti-corruption committee chair and passed for first reading
  • Tuesday, July 25: NFIA bill listed and passed for second reading, and referred to committee on anti-corruption chaired by the sponsor of the bill.
  • Wednesday, July 26: The report of the committee on the bill was laid.
  • Thursday, July 27: The bill scaled third reading and finally passed by the Senate.

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  • Watch man

    Yes! That is it! I wish Nigeria has a NASS that can be this fast in passing good laws. It has taken over 8 yrs to tinker with PIB but immediately the one that affects their looting career came up they finished it in less than one month. As many as you are in that Sin-Net that are troubling the masses of Nigerian people you shall all be terminated suddenly and your ill-gotten wealth shall go to who did not work for it. Fo0lish id0ts!

  • George

    Those who said Jonathan is a weaken president should show their nomadic face here and let us ask questions what they know or called WEAKEN.

    This is the same Buhari the advertised and celebrated as the man who will do everything by waving his ting figures and everyone will just obey or go to jail now can some one tell me who is the actual president of Nigeria. Saraki, Osinbaju or the half dead man in London.

    • Man_Enough

      hate speech!

    • Lukman Asifat

      What are the issues in the news above, your comments are not related to the news.Are you a robbot or something else ?.

    • BABUYANMA

      You can have the Useless Jonathan as your president in Biafraud

    • suleiman

      How is this related to the bill in question?

    • Patrick Otobo

      Please let us focus on the dirty Magu!!!

  • Man_Enough

    the president should appoint ribadu as the head of the reformed nfia. cunny man die cunny man bury am.

    • Höly Wähala

      Why Ribadu? Same mistake of recycling the same people in jobs is why the country can’t advance, is Ribadu the only man who’s cunny enough to bury a cunny man? That is why we are stuck with a very corrupt and ineffective Ibrahim Magu because gullible minds like you think he is the only man fit to fight corruption… Nonsense.

      • Patrick Otobo

        Gbam!1 Good one. Unknown to them, Ribadu is another criminal who mismanaged forfeited assets with Dapo Olorunyomi (His Chief of Staff then) and used cronies to buy houses in high brow areas of abuja.

  • FreeNigeria

    Self serving senators. Thunder go strike una

  • BABUYANMA

    Nigeria’s Senate, The Gang of Thieves

    • suleiman

      Given the opportunity, you will be a worst thief. Many of you talk as if you are saints. I have learnt one thing about the Nigerian, give him or her a position and he/she is no longer the person he was! The student union leaders crying today, are the same thieves stealing student union funds and the would be thieves of tomorrow. So quit play saint or God

      • Okokondem

        Your assessment that most Nigerians if given the opportunity would behave no different from the emmbezzlers they often criticize is quite accurate. What is contradictory in your statement however is that you seem to be an apologist for those who have stolen or looted the country’s welfare. You cannot on one hand be critical of average Nigerian’s proclivity for financial embezzlement, and on the other hand be supportive of those actually engaging in the stealing as we speak.

        What exactly is your reason for seemingly supporting the people currently stealing our wealth which has resulted in the lack of the most basic amenities such as good roads and electricity supply?

        • absam777

          Ignore the guy. His comments portrays him as one of them CORRUPT .

      • Kamaldeen Opeyemi

        sule sule ole ole sule ole

      • Patrick Otobo

        I align with you Suleiman! Don’t mind the internet trolls hired by Magu (The Maggot)!

  • bigbang

    was it necessary to reduce EFCC powers. Why can’t they just pass the bill without self servicing strings attached?

    • suleiman

      It is not about reducing the powers of the EFCC neither is it about Magu the unqualified superintendent who has no morals, no ethics and one who has cobwebs in his cupboard. It is about doing the right thing that would save from embarrassment. This country belongs to all of us, not only APC and Buhari supporters. You guys need to understand the way government works. it is not about one man but the entirety of the citizens.

      • Sanssouci

        My only regret with your comment is that I can’t upvote you ten thousand times!

      • bayobe

        You are really a ‘sule’.

        • Suleiman Alatise

          See my life so, that “Oruhe has soiled my beautiful name, don’t mind him please, Sule is different from Sule, and Sule pass Sule, His real name is sololo,

      • zacchaeus Akinleye

        The Magu that Nigerians know will run up the score on you any day, integrity-wise. Keep cavorting with the despicable thieves of the national assembly for your warped inspiration!

        • Höly Wähala

          Why didn’t he run up the score on integrity to the people closer to him at the presidency, DSS, who damned him for failing “The Integrity Test” not once but twice? Your bar for integrity must be very low if you consider Magu an honorable man. You must be a thief like him…

      • Patrick Otobo

        Magu does not only lack morals, he is extremely corrupt and associate with rogue elements in the society. He is a MAGGOT!!! Under Magu, EFCC is turning to be the most corrupt institution today where operatives openly demand bribe, sell peoples’ Certficate of Occupancy, illegally raid people homes etc. His end is near.

    • Patrick Otobo

      It is Premium Times that is selling fiction that the powers of EFCC was reduced. Nothing of such happened. The NFIU was just made independent by the bill. The Senate acted courageously with dispatch in the circumstance

  • Collins

    A lot of us commenting here are ignorant of why the unit was removed from Efcc and they wouldn’t even wait to comprehend what they just read in the news report above.

    Nigeria has been removed from a world body that encompasses all other Financial Intelligence Units across the globe simply because ours was made part of Efcc. This has serious implications for the integrity of our financial systems as the presence of an independent and autonomous FIU is a sine qua non to the rating a country could achieve in the financial world. Without being a member of the global body our stock exchange for example, cannot have full integration with others like the New York stock exchange. Just like without having NFF we can’t be part of Fifa.

    Efcc was actively involved in the process of pulling the unit out of it and the Senate acted expeditiously on it to save Nigeria financial system from collapsing NOT this time around for their selfish reasons! Efcc would even be more effective as it would now pay more attention to its core mandate.

    This is simple logic.
    Haba, PEOPLE!!

    • Okokondem

      Blame the headline. It is no secret newspapers engage in hyperbole to attract readers, and that seems to be the case here. If the goal of the Senate bill was not to strip powers from the crime agency it is the duty of the writer to clearly state that rather than making insinuations. Most people appear to be responding to the headline since the story itself didn’t do a good job.

      • Collins

        You are very right but they say “do not judge a book by its cover” and I believe most of the readers actually read the main news before commenting.

  • George

    As Magu refused to go home they left him with no office now we have two people doing nothing but just earning their salaries; Buhari and this Magu.

    Taking our oil money to desert in the name of looking for another oil to give the North equal position after they have mismanaged our resources will only bring them sorrows.

    Any money taking from the South by force by those criminals in power will only bring them more pains, sorrows, deaths, VVF for the women, and above all general unknown sickness will affect them all both young and old, God Almighty will set confusion and sorrows in their various household now and forever.

  • Patrick Otobo

    Thank you Premium Times ( The King of Junk Journalism) for exposing yourself again. In your poor understanding as reflected in your headline, the bill was passed to limit EFCC power whereas global best practice demands that the NFIU must be autonomous and independent. Cynical!!!

  • Parliamento2000

    @patrick_otobo:disqus

    Bukola Saraki’s drudgery at a job above his head

    FISH ROTS
    FROM THE HEAD. Once an ignoramus with too much money than sense is put
    into public office position above his head the institution will show symptoms
    of retardation. This has been the case with the Senate of Nigeria under the
    usually daft command of Bukola Saraki. A bill to create independent financial
    monitoring group separate from the EFCC was so hurriedly passed without any
    thinking or consideration for all other implications. No input was at all taken from
    EFCC which oversaw and housed the Financial Monitoring Unit since the year 2003
    or was the Police or ICPC anti-corruption agency asked to make inputs into how the
    proposed bill might affect their own operations.

    What’s worse,
    as if he himself is an accused criminal about to be financially exposed
    Bukola Saraki rushed within one week to see this bill through three readings
    and passed without asking the office of the president in charge of foreign policy
    to make any input. Bukola Saraki’s lame rationalization is that he acted as he
    did to save Nigeria from expulsion by the global EGMONT group of countries
    pledged to anti-corruption. But what the clever by half Bukola Saraki did not
    say is that no expulsion was threatened before January 2018 – meaning that
    there are five months for the Senate and the House of Representatives to work
    out a far more sensible law with inputs from all interested parties.

    • Patrick Otobo

      I understand your pain with the perceived corruption in the Senate. I disagree with you that that the house of reps and senate should work out a far more sensible bill with inputs from all stakeholders. NO!! The NFIU is already in existence and the bill is not about just creating NFIU afresh. So, no further inputs needed. It is about granting autonomy to an existing NFIU which has been domiciled in EFCC against international best practices. The senate stand to loss by this bill because a lot of senators have a lot to hide. But I must admit that the sane ate act courageously to save us a mess that Magu created by his criminal interference with the work of NFIU.

      Successive EFCC heads have been interfering with the work of NFIU and not promoting autonomy. Magu, in particular was indiscriminately redeploying staff of NFIU and replacing them with his boys who are busy selling sensitive information. I think this hasten the suspension of Nigeria from Egmont group.

      I don’t hold brief for Saraki. Yusuf Onaniyu can defend Saraki!

      • gboyegaa

        They are looking for ways to render EFCC useless. No worries. Now that Nigerians are learning what effects putting criminals in charge of the country have on the development of the country, 2019 should give us more reliable heads and they can roll back all the crazy changes these looters are making now.
        Whether these thieves like it or not, this wind of change that is blowing cannot be stopped by no one or group. Who stands in its way will be blown into oblivion.

  • Höly Wähala

    Good. The new agency should be headed by a non-career police officer (SAN, Agbakoba for instance) who can and should audit that department under corrupt Ibrahim Magu… you will all see why crook Prof. Itsa Sagay has been so vocal to keep Magu at the head of the EFCC, it is because of funds and information mismanagement by PACC under Sagay, and EFCC under Magu, that the Egmont Group suspended Nigeria from that all-too-important world body. Separating NFIA from the EFCC will spread Sagay and Magu’s linen in the open lines for all Nigerians to see how dirty and corrupt both men are. This is what I’ve always known and the reason I’ve vociferously campaigned aginst Ibrahim Magu running our anti-graft programm in any capacity, the man is very corrupt and must go back to prison… Nice one, @Senate!

    • Patrick Otobo

      I am so happy that more people are aware that Magu and his criminal gang (Senile Professors in PACAC) are upto no good. Their blind support for Magu is not for nothing. Relatives of PACAC members were recently recruited in to EFCC. Thank you for exposing them. Let us keep exposing them as they are worse than the people they accused of corruption!!

      • Höly Wähala

        With only 127 comments, you must be new to online discussions not to know that I have stridently criticized Sagay, Magu, Tinubu and Osinbajo for using the EFCC to advance political vendettas… my analysis at Punch showcased why Sagay is desperate to keep Magu at the EFCC, it is because Sagay has been stealing monies his group illegally solicited from foreign donors and a petition against his PACC is one of the reasons Egmont Group suspended Nigeria… because, equally corrupt Buhari refused to do something about Magu and Sagay. If I open Magu’s file here you would think that you’re reading a crime novel, the man is a thief, shikena!

        • Patrick Otobo

          I am relatively new and I am encouraged by people like you who says the truth no matter whose ox is gored. My best wishes to you always.

      • gboyegaa

        But the senate that voted against looking at the part of the constitution that covers the agitations and complaints surrounding restructuring only because they want to keep the status quo and continue the looting. Is that what you think is better?
        As far as I am concerned, this 8th NASS is no where near the set of politicians that should touch the constitution at all. Nigerians should vote the right people in come 2019 and those should then spend most of their time making the right changes to the constitution that will support the restructuring Nigerians are yearning for.
        From now until 2019 should be used to come up with the appropriate kind of restructuring that most parts of the country accept,

    • gboyegaa

      Agbakoba should wait until the existence of BIAFRA and he can be their president if the people of BIAFRA so which. He is not fit for anything that has nothing to do with BIAFRA, that is the character he has portrayed with his utterances these days.

  • Comfortkay

    This whole story is in complete who are those that voted to make this changes and what party do they belongs to, Why did our Senator that are half educated refused to have a public hearing? Walahi this senators has skeletons in their cupboard.

    • Maverick

      From you comment I observed that you’re a half educated commenter occupying public space. You don’t know the difference between singular and plural. You can’t punctuate properly. I am ashamed of you.

      • Comfortkay

        Another foot soldier of the Nigeria Agbro Senators.

  • Tommy Soto

    “The Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units is an informal network of national financial intelligence units (FIUs). National FIUs collect information on suspicious or unusual financial activity from the financial industry and other entities or professions required to report transactions suspected of being money laundering or terrorism financing. FIUs are normally not law enforcement agencies, with their mission being to process and analyze the information received. If sufficient evidence of unlawful activity is found, the matter is passed to the public prosecution agencies.”

    Amazing, wanting to belong to a group that has no teeth but just simply loops information back to the host countries. One has to wonder if this financial intelligence organization helps developing countries or shields and protects countries and banks where the loot is stored.

    And many readers already know the Senate’s cloaked motivation for this asinine legislation.

  • Taiwo

    I don’t see how Egmont Group will help Nigeria when we will no longer be able to share OUR own financial intelligence with OUR anti corruption agencies. We will just share our intelligence with other countries & keep our own agencies in the dark. This is back to square one! We better adopt the German model.

  • Olugbenga Roberts

    When thieves, robbers, looters and the scum of the earth make laws, we need not look at the motives. They simply want to make the way clear for their enterprise. It took almost 8 years before the Petroleum Bill was finalised, even when the original intentions have been bastardised. The law that concerns their “business” has taken less than a week to be passed. Time is coming when we will retrieve our nation from these despicable people.