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Bank account: NFIU invading our privacy, Senators lament

By Halimah Suleiman, Abuja

Following a move by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to investigate the bank accounts of all federal lawmakers, all judges in the country, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, some senators have lamented the attempt, describing it as an invasion of their privacy.

A Kogi State Senator, in telephone conversation with our correspondent on condition of anonymity said he was surprised to read in the news that NFIU is requesting bank statement of their accounts.

According to him, “This kind of move is not good at all for our country. It exposed us to a lot of danger if such a thing is made public. I will urge the authority in that unit to rescind their decisions before putting majority of us in danger.”

Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, decried the NFIU’s directive to the banks, saying most senators were individuals having flourishing businesses before they were elected to the red chamber.

“The salary and emoluments of the lawmakers are being determined by an agency of government that is well-known. They can find out what the senators earn from them.

“I don’t think it is right to ask banks to expose details of the accounts of each lawmaker because, many of them are private businessmen and women until their election to the National Assembly. Publishing the accounts of the senators is purely an invasion of privacy.”

It had earlier been reported that the unit has written to all banks in the country to send them the banking information of the affected persons.

The request was contained in a letter signed by the NFIU’s Associate Director, Analysis and Compliance, Fehintola Salisu and dated September 10, 2019.

The letter, addressed to all Chief Compliance Officers of the banks gave the banks up till September 13 (Friday) to comply with the directive.

It was tagged: “Request for information on all accounts of: 1. the National Assembly. 2. All accounts of all the members of the National Judicial Council. 3. All accounts of all the members of the National Assembly. 4. Accounts of principal officers (Management) of National Assembly Service Commission. 5. All accounts of principal officers of the judiciary.”

The letter had read, “Kindly provide the NFIU with a schedule (account names and account numbers) of the National Assembly, members of National Assembly and principal officers of National Assembly Service Commission, as well as all accounts of National Judicial Service Commission and their principal officers, including judges and other relevant politically exposed persons.

“Kindly note that your response is expected on or before September 13, 2019.”

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