Months after a controversial bill by the National Assembly to further regulate Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria received widespread public backlash and suffered derailment, the federal government has announced plans to “profile” NGOs.
Francis Usani, Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said the profiling is to ensure compliance with regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing.
He was speaking at a regional workshop on money laundering organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) on Wednesday, in Abuja.
This comes months after the NGO Regulatory Commission bill was introduced by the National Assembly, provoking civil society revolt.
Usani said profiling the NGOs in the country would address some “deficient” ones among them.
“Recently, the budget office is doing something to address some deficient NGOs and also engaging the NFIU to profile some NGOs in the country,” he said.
“This is going to be a continuous exercise to profile and see the NGOs that are actually committed to their main cause and those not committed to any cause; these will probably be delisted and maybe their registrations be removed.
“There has been this misunderstanding by some NGOs who had come out to oppose the regulations put in place by the government but these are for international best practices. We cannot just let NGOs run around the streets of Nigeria unmonitored (sic) or uncoordinated otherwise this will lead to serious problems.”
He added that the workshop would make NGOs better acquainted with the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations.
“It is just very crucial that NGOs need to be sensitised because most of them do not really understand their obligations under the AML/ CFT regulations and laws,” Usani said.
“Like obligations to report transactions to the relevant authorities, to keep record of their transactions, to conduct due diligence on their sponsors.
“These are necessary because they could ignorantly receive donor funds from people whose aims are basically to finance terrorism or maybe cause some kind of mayhem.”
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