Modibbo Tukur, the man cleared to head Nigeria’s financial intelligence agency, is a mix of a bureaucrat and a shrewd financial intelligence expert.
Colleagues said the new man on the bloc is well connected in the financial intelligence network, having risen through the ranks on the job. He was, for many years, behind international linkages that helped tackle important issues in Nigeria’s fight against financial crimes.
Nigeria’s Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Mr Tukur to head the newly created Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). The NFIU was created as a stand-alone agency, away from the control of its mother-agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the National Assembly, last year. The bill was passed after a long period of high-level horse-trading.
Mr Tukur’s nomination was announced on January 7 and subjected to the Senate’s clearance.
On Wednesday, the upper legislative chamber adopted a report of its committee on anti-corruption headed by Chukwuka Utazi, which recommended Mr Tukur’s clearance.
Mr Utazi said the nominee had put up an impressive performance when he appeared before the committee for screening. The lawmakers then confirmed the appointment through a voice vote.
Mr Tukur came into the job with a wealth of experience, according to a copy of his CV submitted to the Senate and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.
He is among the first set of staff for the NFIU, under the EFCC. He joined the intelligence organisation in March 2005 as a Financial Intelligence/Transaction Analyst and Bank Compliance Examiner.
In this post, his responsibilities include receiving, analysing and disseminating all financial and other intelligence information from banks, financial institutions and Designated Non-Financial Institutions in the country. The information was for use by law enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities both within and outside Nigeria
By January 2006, Mr Tukur was elevated to oversee Strategic Partnership and International Affairs at the NFIU.
In this role, Mr Tukur coordinated lifting of the blacklist and all sanctions against Nigeria by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the G7 countries, which tremendously eased processes of international debts settlements for the federal government. These included the paperwork and scheduling of international meetings between 2005 and 2007.
As part of Nigeria’s delegation to Egmont Group meeting in June 2006, Mr Tukur had the historical record of personally making the application for Nigeria to join the Egmont Group, a move that was backed by sister organisations from the U.S, Mauritius and Bahamas. This paved the way for Nigeria’s admission to the peer group at the next meeting of the Egmont Group in Bermuda Island in June 2007.
From his position, Mr Tukur initiated and established the intelligence sharing relationship between the NFIU and 24 countries, including the U.S, Japan, India, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates etc.
In November 2011, Mr Tukur was redeployed to the EFCC headquarters to head similar unit of external relations. He would spend over six years in this position.
As head of external affairs unit of the EFCC, he facilitated all international cases in areas of exchange of intelligence, information, investigation, prosecution and assets recovery for the EFCC.
Mr Tukur also oversaw support to EFCC by development partners including from the World Bank, UNODC, DFID, U.S State Department, ECOWAS/GIABA, the German Government, and other bilateral and multilateral support.
It was Mr Tukur also who coordinated the asset recovery efforts of the present government with the Swiss government, United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Panama, among others.
For his vast experience, the Nigerian government appointed him to chair a committee on United Nation’s assessment of Nigeria’s anti-corruption programmes.
The assessment was done in May 2017 and the UN assessment team rated Nigeria as ‘flag bearer on Assets Recovery’. The United Nations later assigned the committee to review Mauritania’s anticorruption programmes.
In June 2017, Mr Tukur was posted back to the NFIU as assistant director of the intelligence unit, at the heat of the crisis over autonomy for the unit and suspension of Nigeria by the Egmont Group.
Prior to working at the EFCC/NFIU, Mr Tukur worked for six years at a textile company, Fintex Limited, before he resigned and took up a government job in his native Adamawa State in 1999.
Education And Training
The new NFIU boss has a Master of Science degree in International Business from the University of Salford, Manchester, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree, (B.A Hons), History, University of Maiduguri.
He received a number of specialised training on money laundering and financial intelligence, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), U.S Treasury Department, in 2005. The following year he returned to the US for another training on Securities Market Development by the United States Securities and Capital Market Development Institute.
Mr Tukur was also a trainee of the World Bank on Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism in 2006.
In 2007, he was trained by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the first standard financial systems assessor for mutual evaluation for West Africa at the Financial Services Authority of Germany. He was later appointed to evaluate law enforcement institutions of the Republic of the Gambia, alongside World Bank and IMF Officials in May/June 2007.
Mr Tukur participated in the PLSC Course 14 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, in 2014.
As the first head of the NFIU as an independent body, Mr Tukur will spearhead a transition that would transform the small unit into an agency with the important responsibility of receiving, analysing and sharing financial intelligence with relevant agencies within and outside the country.
His coordination role and leadership would be at the heart of success or otherwise of Nigeria’s fight against corruption, terrorist financing and organised crimes.