Why we passed NFIU bill - Saraki

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The National Assembly concluded work on the bill establishing the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit as an independent entity by endorsing the Conference Committee report of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The senate had passed the bill in July, but it was put on hold at the house of representatives.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said that the Bill will be considered today.

The group had threatened to expel Nigeria permanently by March 11 if the Nigerian government failed to grant the unit the autonomy required to become its member.

The EGMONT Group is a network of 152-member countries that share information relating to criminal intelligence and financial information.

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For the House, The Eagle Online gathered that it would be the first issue for consideration this morning.

"It is important that we consider the report tomorrow so that Nigeria will be out of the suspension and be counted among the comity of nations in the EGMONT Group, " he added.

Specifically, Section 2 (c) of the EFCC Act provides that the commission (EFCC) "is the designated Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in Nigeria, which is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the various institutions involved in the fight against any money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria".

The Senate and House of Representatives had differed over the passage of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Bill establishing the NFIU as an independent entity.

To stop Nigeria's expulsion from the EGMONT Group, the Senate has passed the Report of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill awaiting assention by the executive.

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Findings showed that the conference committee adopted the recommendation of the Senate, which removed the NFIU from the anti-graft agency and domiciled it in the CBN.

One has to do with where the NFIU will be domiciled.

Nigeria risked being expelled by the Egmont Group if the bill wasn't passed earlier.

Only last week, Utazi accused his counterpart in the House of attempting to derail the process of having a legal framework that would guarantee independence of the NFIU.

The joint committee met on Monday, where the two versions of the report were harmonised.

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