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FG, US to collaborate to counter terrorism

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By Abraham Adekunle

Treasury asst. Sec. notes US is willing to secure Nigeria financial system.

The United States government has said that it is working with the Nigerian government to counter terrorism financing. The US Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary, Eric Meyer, disclosed this on October 27, 2023. Meyer noted that the US is willing to make Nigeria’s financial system secure and safe; and that his main interest is in finance, particularly as it is related to terrorism. He added that his office works and focuses their attention on the financing of terrorism through money laundering and other avenues for corruption.

He said that United States officials really engaged with their counterparts in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Finance (the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit) on how to protect and safeguard Nigeria’s financial system and how to make sure that it is not being used and cannot be used by illicit actors to support terrorism and other activities. Meyer thinks this is very important in Nigeria. According to him, Nigeria has a robust banking system, one that is very important for its economy but also important for the region and has a link with the United States financial system. “We want that to be a safe and secure financial system going forward,” he said.

Bureau of Counterterrorism has invested $200m in sub-Saharan Africa.

Regarding Nigeria’s technology sector, the US official stated that as Nigeria has a very robust financial technology industry, “we are looking at how to make advances in using financial technology and we want to make sure that it also remains safe and secure.” The Deputy Coordinator for the US Bureau of Counterterrorism, Gregory LoGerfo, said that the bureau had spent $200 million since 2018 on counter-terrorism in the Sahel and the coast of West Africa.

“Our Bureau since 2018 has spent $200 million invested in the Sahel and the coast of West African governments to help them constrain terrorists’ facilitation of resources and fighters, conduct terrorism investigations and prosecutions, mitigate and respond to terrorism incidents and counter violent extremism,” he said. LoGerfo said that the bureau has a regional approach and has consulted with Nigerian officials on how to integrate its efforts a little better with respect to the border.

Partners include the NPF and other institutions.

On his part, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau, David Galbraith, noted that his bureau works with partners globally to fight crime, fight the trafficking of illicit drugs, and improve civilian security. “Here in Nigeria,” he said, “we have long-standing partnerships with a number of criminal justice sectors and institutions including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and some of the high courts and magistrate’s courts in the country as well as the Nigerian Correctional Services.”

Furthermore, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is actively involved in the fight against terrorism globally and provides capacity building programs that are adapted to local needs. It said that the counter-terrorism project in Nigeria aims to enhance criminal justice capacity for effective rule-of-law-based investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of terrorist cases; promote inter-agency collaboration on counter-terrorism matters, enhance the national legal regime against terrorism, strengthen international cooperation against terrorism and ensure respect for human rights. The project featured 24 training sessions with practical lessons, role-plays, mentoring, and experience-sharing by counter-terrorism professionals from different parts of the world.

Countering terror financing is highly complex.

Basically, terrorist groups need money to sustain themselves and carry out terrorist acts. So, terrorist financing encompasses the means and methods used by terrorist organisations to finance their activities. This money can come from legitimate sources, for example, from business profits and charitable organisations, or from illegal activities including trafficking in weapons, drugs or people, or kidnapping. Countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) is a highly complex endeavour that involves many different actors. The UNODC supports Member States with a wide variety of responses, ranging from legislation and international policy, to operational level responses.

Related Link

UNODC: Website

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