Nigeria’s apex bank Monday said it has taken necessary steps to ensure that the banking sector is not used to launder money in or out of the country or for any other form of illegal activities.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was working closely with banks to ensure that ill gotten-gains-of crime were not legitimize using the financial sector, Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank governor said in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He spoke at the opening ceremony of the Regional Course on “Combating Money Laundering and other Financial Crimes”.

It was organized by the West African Institution for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) with participants from the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance and law enforcement agencies of Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Liberia.

The event also saw the signing of a 1.3 million U.S. dollars agreement between the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and WAIFEM to assist the later expand its scope of activities within the next 18 months.

“One of the core functions of the CBN is to promote a sound and stable financial system in Nigeria and combat money laundering to ensure that the financial system is safe and steady,” the apex bank chief added.

“Because of that, we have embarked on a number of initiatives, we have issued circulars to Security Compliance Officers at banks; we have also issued circulars on the importance of KYC (Know Your Customer) before any account is opened,” he said.

“Also, the recent Bank Verification Number (BVN) is all geared toward ensuring that the financial system is stable, to make sure that depositors in the banks are known depositors and not those that will use the banking system as a platform to carryout illegal activities,” he said.

Emefiele said the apex bank had supported the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit, as strategic to fighting the menace.

According to him, Nigeria had also applied for membership of Financial Action Task Force on Money (FATF), which is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 by the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.

He said the FATF had already scheduled a visit to Nigeria later in the year as part of its procedure prior to admitting the country. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/