The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola has urged law enforcement agencies, and regulators to work together to prevent financial crimes in Nigeria.

This is as he called for innovative ways to deny criminals of the proceeds of their illegal activity as these funds were being used to sponsor terrorism and other forms of criminality in the country.

He added that such money should be spent on projects and programmes that would benefit the entire population.

Aregbesola stated this at the opening of a three-day workshop based on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism for the Ministry of Interior and its agencies on Tuesday in Abuja.

Rauf Aregbesola

He said: “As terrorism, banditry and other serious cross border crimes continue to proliferate, law enforcement agencies and regulators must work together to prevent, identify, punish and deter financial crimes.

“We must continue to seek innovative ways to deprive criminals of the proceeds of their illegal activity and plough back into projects and programmes that would benefit the entire population. Experience has shown that these funds are also used to undermine economic, social and political stability through funding of terrorism and terrorist-related activities.

“As a responsible member of the comity of nations, Nigeria is committed to meeting the global standards for the integrity of the financial system and preventing it from being used as a safe haven for the movement of illicit funds.”

The minister also disclosed that criminals had devised means of concealing ownership of assets illegally acquired, adding that they were also investing their funds in legitimate business which he said was affecting the trust in the financial system.

He said: “Criminals use various techniques and mechanisms to obscure the ownership of illicitly acquired assets and; introducing illegally obtained funds into the stream of legitimate commerce allows criminals to profit from their illegal activities, taints the financial system and erodes public trust in the integrity of the system. “

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