The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC and Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, in conjunction with the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative PAGMI, have held a town hall meeting with artisanal and small scale miners.
Addressing the miners at the event which held today, 27 July, in Minna, the Niger State capital, the Director of SCUML, Mr. Daniel Isei, who was represented by the Head, Strategic Analysis, Mrs. Ibinabo Mary Amachre, disclosed that the purpose of the workshop was to sensitize dealers in precious stones and metals on their AML/CFT obligations and build competence in their compliance abilities.
Isei, noted that criminals had now turned their focus on dealers in the precious stones and metals sector to perpetrate money laundering, terrorist financing, as well as carry out most of their nefarious criminal activities including kidnapping and banditry.
According to Isei, “in recognition of this phenomenon, it becomes incumbent on us to take deliberate and decisive actions to stop criminals from abusing the dealers in the sector. We must therefore be conscious of our obligations and responsibilities under the Nigerian AML/CFT regime and develop a culture of compliance with AML/CFT measures”.
The Executive Secretary, PAGMI, Hajiya Fatima Umar Shinkafi who was represented by Dr. Martina Ananaba, intimated that the core mandate of PAGMI is to forge the formalization and integration of artisanal gold mining activities into Nigeria’s legal, economic and institutional framework.
Hajiya Shinkafi further highlighted the three-pronged focus and purpose of the town hall meeting. The first, she said, is to sensitize the gold traders, dealers and miners in the gold supply chain on the existence, role and purpose of PAGMI and what it can offer to the gold trading society.
The second, she further explained, is “to demonstrate our collaboration with the EFCC and clarify how we would both be acting together in this landscape towards our joint objectives”, and the third is “to bring to your attention the relevant laws within the sector which cover both the PAGMI and EFCC operations. The knowledge of these laws will arm you in carrying out your business legally and without fear of any reprisals,” she said.
Hajiya Shinkafi noted that the collaboration between PAGMI and EFCC was necessary and timely, for revenue development in the sector.
While appreciating the EFCC and SCUML for this initiative, Abdulkarim Muhammed, Secretary of Gold Sellers Association, Minna Modern Market, Niger State, and Hon. Uba Adamu, Public Relations Officer, Miners Association of Nigeria, Niger State Chapter, expressed their delight in the collaboration, and underscored their association’s disapproval of using the sector for money laundering or financing of terrorism.
They reiterated their sector’s internal audit mechanism which enables them to fish out anyone associated with these crimes.
The event was themed, “Effective Implementation Of Anti-money laundering And Combating The Financing Of Terrorism Measures In The DNFI Sector”.