From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Among the 164 countries that comprise the Egmont Group, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) received the most points and was named the best intelligence case.
According to a statement signed by Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, the Unit received the highest award for excellence, also known as the BECA award of excellence, which was co-sponsored by the World Bank and the United Nations. The award was presented during the plenary of the Global Financial Intelligence Units Group on Thursday in Riga, Latvia.
At the same time, the NFIU received a certificate of appreciation from the Egmont Group for offering its ICT team to work on and redevelop its global intelligence exchange software, which the plenary also approved to replace the earlier version developed by the US.
A French national and the group’s Executive Secretary, Mr Jerome Beaumont, praised the NFIU, describing it as “a team with highly knowledgeable and very efficient personnel.”
This is not the first time the NFIU has received international recognition this year. At the end of May 2022 in Senegal, the unit received three different ECOWAS awards.
The Intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), gave the NFIU a star award for mentorship, as well as two other awards for “valuable contribution to the region” and a third one in collaboration achievement.
Commenting on the feat of winning five highest international awards in West Africa and the world within a period of three months, the Director/CEO of the NFIU, Mr Modibbo Tukur said, “We tried to assemble the best team from day one. We moulded each staff into becoming a technician of himself. We niched ourselves into the global intelligence community. Once you come to us we always try to give you exactly what you are looking for.”
Tukur added: ‘We also spend all our money on training our staff. We train our staff in West Africa and other places in the continent such as Kenya and Tanzania. My staff are always on their way to the US, UK, and Israel. We sent our staff to even Saudi Arabia; we are in Austria, Hungary etc.
“We are constantly understudying the world. Once you assume duty at the NFIU, we stretch you out on your capacity from day one until we know what you are best for, then we start intensifying in best practices and modern techniques. So, each staff is well stretched out and made a resource person. But again, like every organisation in the country, we have serious challenges.
“Our major challenge is that the traditional organisations and platforms in the country are not cooperating well, when it comes to operational duties. There is no interagency collaboration and synergy and that’s a complete disaster in areas of national security.”