President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday appointed Mr Modibbo Hamman-Tukur as the Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
This was confirmed in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja.
Hamman-Tukur’s name, the Presidency said, had already been sent to the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, for confirmation by the Senate.
Hamman-Tukur, who holds an MSc, hails from Adamawa State.
The statement read partly, “In accordance with the provision of Section 5(1) of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Modibbo Hamman-Tukur as a Director of the unit.
“This was contained in a letter dated January 7, 2019, to the Senate President seeking the confirmation of the nominee by the upper chamber of the National Assembly.”
Until his appointment, the officer was an Assistant Director in the NFIU.
The NFIU became an independent body in late 2018, following the passage of its enabling Act by the National Assembly.
Until then, it was a unit merged with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), creating difficulties at the time to separate its roles from that of the EFCC.
Recall that due to lack of autonomous status for the NFIU and the alleged interferences with its operations by the EFCC, the Egmont Group had suspended Nigeria’s membership of the body in February 2017.
The Egmont Group is a global body of 155 financial intelligence units across the world which facilitates the exchange of financial intelligence, expertise and capability.
The units primarily combat money laundering, terrorism financing and serious financial crime.
Following the suspension of Nigeria and the country facing a possible ban, the National Assembly in 2018, quickly passed a bill to separate the NFIU from the EFCC.
As a follow-up, The Egmont Group at its 25th plenary held in Sidney, Australia, in September 2018, lifted the suspension of Nigeria.
The new law passed by the National Assembly provided that the NFIU should be headed by a director while the agency would now be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Buhari complied with the law by appointing Hamman-Tukur as the director on Monday.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr Kayode Oladele, spoke on what happened and how the law eventually came into effect.
Oladele said, “After the suspension was announced in 2017, Nigeria’s membership of the Financial Action Task Forces was also suspended. Consequently, we introduced the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency bill in the National Assembly which was passed. After the passage, we had a conference committee meeting which worked on the grey areas.
“We now have the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit law, which means that we have complied with the international directives and given a legal framework to the NFIU.
“After the submission of the law to the Egmont Group, a fact-finding mission was sent to Nigeria earlier in September 2018 and they paid an unscheduled visit to the NFIU office in Abuja.
“They inspected all our facilities and they were impressed. So, at the meeting on Wednesday in Sydney, the report was tabled before the plenary and the suspension was lifted.”