EFCC demands transparency from local, international NGOs

EFCC says erring NGOs will be punished with adequate sanctions as provided by law.

EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa [EFCC]

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has charged non-governmental organisations (NGO) working in Nigeria to be more transparent with their operations.

The Director of Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML), Daniel Isei, at a meeting with the Nigeria INGO Forum on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, said NGOs must help the agency to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the north east.

He emphasised that they must help to identify and verify the actual beneficiaries of the palliatives, and cash provided by donors so that the funds will not get into the wrong hands.

The EFCC official further noted that following the law will reduce the risk of sabotage during disbursement of funds to internally displaced people, and help bring financiers of terrorism to book.

"Our engagement with the INGOs is to ensure and enforce compliance with the regulations and laws against money laundering and to combat financiers of terrorism activities and this can only be achievable through proper identification of the beneficiaries of the Aids flows provided by the INGOs," he said.

Isei warned that erring NGOs will be punished with adequate sanctions as provided by law.

NGOs have in the past been warned by Nigerian authorities about their operations in the troubled north east region under the siege of terror for over a decade.

International aid agencies, Action Against Hunger and Mercy Corps, were in 2019 suspended for allegedly aiding terrorist group, Boko Haram, by supplying food and drugs to fighters.

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has also previously been accused of spying for the terrorist group, and hit with a short-lived suspension.

The Islamic sect has terrorised the north east region since 2009 and displaced millions of people from their communities, with their activities spreading to communities in neighbouring countries.

The death toll directly linked to the group's violence has been estimated to be around 35,000, but the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in a recent report that the total death toll is 10 times higher.

"We estimate that through the end of 2020, the conflict will have resulted in nearly 350,000 deaths, with 314,000 of those from indirect causes," the report noted.

A significant amount of the casualties were recorded in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, with children younger than five years old being the hardest hit.

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