GIABA Conducts Training in Abuja to Strengthen Efforts Against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing in West Africa

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is currently hosting a capacity-building training in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The training focuses on developing a curriculum and training modules for countering the financing of terrorism, aligning with the objectives outlined in the ECOWAS Counter Terrorism Action Plan 2020–2024.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Edwin W. Harris Jr., the Director General of GIABA, commended Nigeria’s efforts in fostering cooperation among competent authorities to combat transnational organized crimes, particularly in addressing money laundering and terrorist financing. He emphasized the critical need for enhanced collaboration among stakeholders and underscored the importance of training key officials to effectively mitigate the risks posed by money laundering and terrorism financing.

Highlighting the escalating threats posed by terrorism and violent extremism in the ECOWAS region, Mr. Harris stressed the imperative of optimizing technical assistance to member states, ensuring the availability of knowledge, capacities, and expertise at the local level. The train-the-trainers project, tailored to meet the specific needs of member countries, aims to bolster regional efforts in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Mr. Mohammed Jiya, representing the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), reiterated the significant security challenges posed by various militant groups operating in West Africa, including Boko Haram, Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and Al-Qaeda affiliates. He emphasized the necessity of regional cooperation, intelligence-sharing, and capacity-building initiatives to address the transnational nature of terrorism threats in the region.

Rear Admiral Yaminu E. Musa (Rtd), the National Coordinator of the Nigeria Counter Terrorism Centre, emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism financing, stressing the importance of identifying terrorist funding sources and networks within the sub-region. He underscored the critical role of collaborative efforts in denying terrorist groups access to funding, cross-border movements, and safe havens.

The training, attended by participants from anti-corruption agencies, financial intelligence units, the military, and other relevant actors from GIABA member states, seeks to equip stakeholders with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively combat money laundering and terrorism financing in West Africa.

Quest: Cris-Edesiri Odjomah

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