Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Wednesday applauded Federal Government and the financial institutions for the smooth take off of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the country.
The labour unions specifically said the adherance of financial institutions on the guidelines of NFIU on the Joint state- Local government funds would spur development and end insecurity in the country. NULGE president, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel on his part said the smooth take off of the NFIU and the way the banks have cooperated for its smooth take off, was encouraging, despite opposition it faced from the governors who feed fat on local government funds. “The Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for standing on the side of the people, rule of law and the development of the country, by insisting on NFIU guidelines. Also, the Financial institutions must be commended for strict adherence to the rules, while we praise the Unit itself for leading the way in doing a very good job.”
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is the Nigerian arm of the global financial intelligence Units (FIUs) domiciled within the EFCC as an autonomous unit and operating in the African Region. The NFIU seeks to comply with international standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and proliferation.
The Governors had failed to secure a Court judgement to halt the guidelines which commenced on June 1, 2019.
The NFIU had on May 6 issued the guideline to reduce the vulnerabilities created by cash withdrawals from local government funds throughout the country; which restored the full mandate of the operations of State/Local Government Joint Accounts to be used solely for the distribution of funds directly to the accounts of the local governments.
“Effective regulation of arbitrary withdrawals of local government funds by state governments from the joint local government/state joint accounts by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), as we have seen with the take off now, would reduce looting of council finances,” Khaleel said.
The NULGE President while describing the implementation as a giant step towards granting financial autonomy to local governments, also assured of the union readiness to work with relevant agencies of Government to ensure the successful implementation of the guidelines; is achieved.
“To encourage the Federal Government, President Buhari, the banks and other financial institutions and the NFIU itself, the union will train its members across the length and breadth of the country to keep eagle eyes on the operations of the funds going to local government councils henceforth. I am assuring you, we will ensure that flagrant abuse of the system and the funds is stopped.” Khaleel said.
SSASCGOC General Secretary, Comrade Ayo Olorunfemi on his part said the initiative is commendable, stressing that state governments have in the past frustrated development in the grassroot.