The Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) and the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC); have commended the smooth take-off of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the country.
Specifically, NULGE and SSASCGOC commended the Federal Government, President Muhammadu Buhari and the financial institutions who have adhered strictly to the guidelines of the NFIU, especially on the Joint State-Local Government Account and local government funds.
The President of NULGE, Comrade Ibrahim Khaleel, said the smooth take off of the NFIU and the way the banks have cooperated for its smooth take off, was encouraging, despite stiff opposition from the governors.
He regretted that the governors were only bent on their selfish desires of mismanaging funds meant for the local governments.
“The Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for standing on the side of the people, rule of laws 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 NULGE president said.
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 NFIU Guidelines commenced June 1, 2019 after the governors failed to secure a court order stopping its implementation.
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.
Banks were requested to ensure the full implementation of the guidelines with effect from June 1, 2019.
However, speaking on the take off, Comrade Khaleel said the NFIU initiative will definitely halt looting of council funds and bring about development that have been lacking under the previous system, to the local government.
“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,” he added.
Commending the new guideline, the NULGE President described it as a giant step towards granting financial autonomy to local governments.
He pointed out that he would do everything to see that his earlier promise to work with the relevant agencies of the Federal 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.
Also, the SSASCGOC General Secretary, Comrade Ayo Olorunfemi, applauded the unit for taking the step, the Federal Government and President Buhari for the initiative.
According to him, the state governors have over the years frustrated development at the grassroots by refusing to allow financial autonomy for local government councils.
The SSASCGOC General Secretary commended President Buhari, for sanctioning the guidelines; which has renewed the faith of Nigerians and the Labour movement in the anti-corruption fight of the present government.