Nigeria: Why Nigerians Should Support Fight Against Illicit Financial Crimes

“Every year thousands of people in Nigeria are arrested for committing financial crimes, it is hoped that this campaign will reduce criminal activity even further.”

Nigeria is losing an estimated $18 billion annually to Illicit Financial Crimes like bribery, internet fraud, and non-payment of taxes, Torchlight Group has said.

These outflows have a significant impact on the country’s economic stability and every Nigerian loses the equivalent of N35,000 annually to financial crimes.

“This money can provide world-class facilities for Nigerians, build roads, create jobs, provide better educational systems and provide better and affordable housing systems,” the group said as it launched a campaign to #protectwhatsyours on Thursday.

Funded by the British Government, the campaign is to deter financial criminals and encourage communities to report illicit financial crimes to Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.

Nine government organisations including the EFCC, ICPC, and FIRS, have joined forces with the media and civil society to support the #protectwhatsyours campaign.

“The campaign encourages Nigerians to recognise a financial crime, understand how harmful it is to the communities of Nigeria, then join others who are standing up to financial criminals by reporting it to the relevant authorities,” the group said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.

“Every year thousands of people in Nigeria are arrested for committing financial crimes, it is hoped that this campaign will reduce criminal activity even further.”

What is IFF

Illicit Financial Flows involve money laundering, bribery by international companies, tax evasion, falsification of business transactions, and corruption among others.

People who move money abroad or aid illegal transactions are stealing from Nigerians and the international community.

Likewise, those who move cash above the central bank stipulated amount of N5 million for an individual and N10 million for a corporate body, without properly declaring, are promoting Illicit financial flows.

Those who hide criminal money within the country or abroad or use cattle rearing business to send money across borders are also culpable of illicit finance.

Other forms of illicit finance are instances where people offer bribes or use the proceeds of the bribe to launder money or engage in internet fraud.

“We all need to be aware of this and ask ourselves if we are unintentionally taking from our community by engaging in illicit financial transactions,” the group said.

Taking part in this criminal scheme means our education system, health, agriculture, sports, and welfare will crumble, it said.

“We are all victims but we can put an end to this by reporting and prosecuting people or organisations who engage in illicit financial flow within the country and across borders.”

How to report illicit finance

To join others in your community who are standing up to financial criminals, the group urged Nigerians to report all suspicious transactions to relevant authorities.

This, they said, will help fight “illicit finance and help to rebuild your community.”

There are many ways you can do this like downloading the EFCC Eagle Eye application on google and apple stores.

Nigeria’s revenue collector, FIRS, can be reached via 094602700 or helpdesk@firs.gov.ng or call the ICPC toll-free number at 0800-2255-4272 or info@icpc.gov.ng.

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