The Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, has opposed new financial regulations seeking to end governors’ control of local government finances.
The forum has written President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene on the matter. The new financial regulations were given by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit. The 36 state governors in Nigeria have opposed the new financial regulations seeking to put an end to their control of local government finances.
Recall that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) announced a ban on transactions on state and local government joint accounts. According to NFIU, such accounts are only transitional accounts from where funds should go directly to the accounts of local government. A limit of N500,000 cash withdrawal per day from local governments accounts was placed by NFIU.
The NGF described the directive as unconstitutional, saying a letter has been sent to President Buhari to intervene. The governors said in a statement on Sunday, May 19, by NGF’s head of media, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, that the agency was acting in excess of its power. The governors expressed “dismay and angst at this brazen attempt by the NFIU to ridicule our collective integrity and show total disregard for the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended”.
According to the NFIU, the new order takes effect on Saturday, June 1. The order makes it mandatory for local government allocations to go straight to their respective bank accounts. The governors said: “In principle, the NFIU should concentrate on its core mandate of Anti-money laundering, AML, activities and combatting financing Terrorism, CTF, as prescribed in the Act establishing it and should desist from encroaching on or even breaching constitutional provisions.
“The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is the Nigerian arm of the global financial intelligence Units (FIUs) once domiciled within the EFCC, but now for the purpose of institutional location domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria. “This means the NFIU is only mandated to trace or track laundered money that finds its way into terrorism financing and report such to the nation’s security agencies.
“The NFIU should seek to comply with those standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and its proliferation as stipulated and not dabble into matters that are both constitutional and beyond NFIU purview.