The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit has said it is acting within the confines of the law concerning the guidelines on cash withdrawals from all government accounts.
The Director, NFIU, Modibbo Tukur, made this known on Saturday in response to a statement made by the Nigerian Governors Forum regarding the ban.
The governors’ forum after a meeting on Friday agreed to set up a six-man panel headed by Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, to interface with the NFIU and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Responding to the NGF, Tukur said, “First of all we are ready to partner with the six-man committee that they have set up. We will enlighten them.“Secondly, we acted within our functions and the law. We issued the guidelines to control the barrage of investigations that we saw coming. Our guidelines were meant to help the governors, not to fight them or any public servant.”
Tukur, who spoke in a statement signed by the agency’s Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, said, “We have reached a stage that if we allow the present scenario to continue, all public institutions will drift into structured cash withdrawals of certain amounts of money which by law, standards and best practices must be investigated continuously which is neither desirable nor reasonable.
“We feel communities must move on by accommodating changes and adjusting to new developments.
He explained that the NFIU is a law-abiding agency that works in tandem with relevant laws, adding that the LGAs lost out in court after they sued the NFIU concerning the initial LGA withdrawal guidelines.
He added, “But more importantly we need to understand that in recent past, the United States FIU and United Kingdom FIU penalised Nigerian banks with fines of millions of US dollars due to non-compliance.
“Internally, non compliance with sections cited in the recent guidelines comes with heavy penalties on financial institutions. We did, on gentlemanly pretext, avoid until this moment putting a fine to financial institutions, expecting gradual learning and adjustments. But to eternally guarantee this kind gesture is to automatically keep abusing our laws.
“We want every stake holder to appreciate that we cooperated for too far and long. We held deep breath while defending these deficiencies Internationally, just to continue to remain in the International pay points and competing with others.
“Finally, we also clearly stated in the preceding advisory, that the entire financial system suffered excess liquidity and liquidity ratio infringements which put hedging pressure of demand for foreign currency and gradually destroying the value of the naira and above all creating wide room for money laundering and terrorism, affecting significantly the rural populace on top of general inflation in the open market place.
We are in support of working together to stop these challenges and in most progressive manner.”