The Centre for Journalism Innovations and Development (CJID) on Wednesday trained journalists on effective coverage of issues bordering on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF).
The one-day training, held in Abuja on Wednesday in collaboration with the Torch Light group, had in attendance about 40 Nigerian journalists from different newsrooms.
Illicit financial flows involves money laundering, bribery by international companies, tax evasion, falsification of business transactions, corruption among others.
A 2020 report by the UNCTAD estimated that Africa loses $88.6 billion annually due to IFF, with Nigeria contributing 30 per cent.
The extractive sector is the most affected in Africa.
Speaking at the training, Mboho Eno, the CJID programme deputy director, described the training as vital to sustaining conversations on illicit financial flows in the country.
“We have had in recent years a lot of leaks on how Nigerians hide their wealth in tax havens abroad and how they engaged in illicit financial flows, so, training journalists to understand the implications of IFF will help sustain conversations around it and hasten prosecution,” Mr Mboho said.
The Torchlight Group’s project manager, Emeka Ukatu, said the project was to forestall issues driving the youth into drug trafficking and transnational crimes.
The Editor-in-Chief of PREMIUM TIMES, Musikilu Mojeed, urged Nigerian media to increase reportage of illicit financial flows to educate the public.
“There was no action taken on Nigerians exposed for having off-shore accounts and shell companies in the Pandora Papers because journalists were not able to ask necessary questions when the culprits embarked on a media tour to clear their names.
“This was as a result of journalists not having the prerequisite knowledge of how illicit financial flow operates despite evidence presented to the public,” Mr Mojeed said.
A facilitator at the training, Stella Atakpa, said money laundering investigation is a complex kind of reporting that requires smart drivers.
She added that reporters need to know agencies and organisations that fight against financial criminal activities for easy collaboration.
The director of innovation at CJID, Adedeji Adekunle, discussed the issues of tracking IFF and understanding business, money and governance systems.
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