Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has stressed the imperative of international support and cross-border collaboration in implementing measures to combat illicit financial flows.
A statement from Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation disclosed that Malami made the statement on Friday at the high-level side event of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York USA on Friday.
The side event with the theme on “food security response: combating illicit financial flows and securing assets returns for sustainable development” was organised by the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of the New Partnership for Agricultural Development (NEPAD) and Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
According to the Minister “transformative solutions to the thorny issues of International Financial Follows (IFFs), looting, internet-related crimes and other threats to global economic growth and development, necessarily require international collaboration and cross-border cooperation of all stakeholders”.
Malami recall that in response to the threat posed by IFFs, the United Nations General Assembly, since its 72nd Session, placed the “promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development” on its agenda item 16 (d).
He noted that African Continent bears the major consequences of IFFs, which has continued to derail its journey towards the African Union’s Agenda 2063 that envisions “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”
According to Malami the vision, can only be realized when the key to life, ‘nourishment’ is guaranteed and secured maintaining that “tackling illicit financial flows, in terms of blocking the leakages and recovery of looted assets, will open the door to releasing the much-needed investment in productive sectors, inclusive of food security”.
Malami said Nigeria has demonstrated the workability of application of returned looted assets for sustainable development.
He said In 2017, the $322million recovered looted assets from Swissland laid the solid foundation of getting 100million Nigerians out of poverty through the social Invesment programs that include national homegrown school feeding program, government enterprise and empowerment program, N-power job creation and youth empowerment program and national social safety Net program, amongst others.
Malami said that Food Security Response was placed on top of Africa’s 2022 agenda to align with the Global Sustainable Development Goal “to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.
He noted that crisis experienced in the globe as well as onslaughts of terrorism and criminality continued to exacerbate challenges to world peace posed by starvation, malnutrition, diseases, climate change which he said continue to contribute to a worsening global economy.
“Indeed, these challenges are truly interlocking and have put our collective ability to devise innovative solutions to the test”.
While highlighting the nexus between illicit financial flows and food security Malami cited reports from law enforcement agencies especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that showed that IFFS undermine efforts to development including food security.
He said that the Federal Government has put in place laws and frameworks to address IFFs noting that this year President Muhammad Buhari has signed the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, (2022), the Proceed of Crimes Act among others.