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Nigeria: National Assembly Puts Anti-Terrorism and Money Laundering Bills on Hold

(Aug. 16, 2010) It was reported on August 12, 2010, that despite letters to the legislature's leadership from President Goodluck Jonathan urging quick passage, the Nigerian House of Representatives suspended indefinitely deliberation on anti-terrorism and money laundering bills due to disagreements among members on some of their provisions (Philip Nyam, Reps Suspend Debate on Anti Terrorism, Money Laundering Bills, LEADERSHIP (Aug. 13, 2010),

In his letters, Jonathan noted that speedy passage of the two bills was necessary in order for Nigeria to meet its obligations to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (or Groupe d'action financière, GAFI)) and the international community (id.). Jonathan insisted that delay in the passage of the bills would make it difficult for Nigeria to interact with the world and that it “will frustrate and hamper legitimate international transactions flowing from Nigeria; some countries will not honour international financial instruments emanating from Nigeria, including letter [sic] of credit” (id.).

The FATF is an inter-governmental body whose stated objective is to develop and promote national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (FATF-GAFI, FATF-GAFI website,,2987,en_32250379_32235720_1_1_1_1_1,00.
(last visited Aug. 13, 2010)). Nigeria was put on the FATF's non-cooperative countries and territories list (NCCTs) in June 2001 and was only de-listed in June 2006 after having enacted laws and successfully prosecuted several money-laundering cases (FATF, ANNUAL REVIEW OF NON-COOPERATIVE COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES 2006-2007: EIGHTH NCCT REVIEW (Oct. 12, 2007),

Although the FATF recognizes that Nigeria has made progress in its anti-money laundering/combating financial terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, it has identified problems that the country needs to address by taking additional measures. These include:

    • adequately criminalizing money laundering and terrorist financing;
    • implementing adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets;
    • taking steps to ensure that relevant laws address deficiencies in customer due diligence requirements and that they apply to all financial institutions; and
    • demonstrating that AMF/CFT supervision is undertaken effectively across the financial sector. (FATF, Improving Global AML/CFT Compliance: [sic](Feb. 18, 2010),

FATF currently has 34 countries and two regional organizations as its members. Nigeria is not a member. (FATF Members and Observers, FATF-GAFI website,,3343,en_32250379_32236869_3402718
(last visited Aug. 13, 2010).)