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Surge in ‘sophisticated’ financial crimes in Nigeria worrisome: Reps

The House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed worry over the surge in sophisticated financial crimes and the need to quickly address the menace.

At the hearing of the defence of the 2024 appropriation bill by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ginger Obinna, the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, said the trend threatened Nigeria’s progress and stability. 

“In recent years, our nation has witnessed a surge in sophisticated financial crimes that demand our immediate attention and robust defence mechanisms,” said Mr Obinna. 

He said that from money laundering to cybercrime, the challenges remained multifaceted and ever-evolving, adding that it was the committee’s duty to stay ahead of the threats.

Mr Obinna said it was imperative to adapt its strategies and adequately equip the relevant agencies to counteract the forces that sought to undermine the country’s economic well-being. 

“The budget estimate before us today is not just a collection of numbers; it is a reflection of our commitment to creating an environment where our citizens can trust the financial institutions that drive our economy, “ the lawmaker said. 

He said the committee pledged to provide the necessary resources to empower the EFCC to carry out its vital missions effectively.

The commission’s chairman, Ola Olukoyede, while speaking on the challenges posed by the 2023 capital project, said, “A few capital projects we are implementing in 2023 are not from the 2023 capital project but from the 2022 capital rollover.”

He said some EFCC offices were on rented land, adding that some of their landlords were unwilling to sell.

Speaking on EFCC’s plan to execute its budget, Mr Olukayode said, “We are going to work in collaboration with the committee, and we are going to welcome oversight.”

He said if the EFCC had the opportunity, the 2024 budget would be implemented to the last, adding that they had slowed down the budget implementation process because of funding. 

(NAN) 

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