The Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has commenced a three-day training workshop in Lagos with the theme: "Prevention of Cross-Border Smuggling" as part of numerous efforts put in place by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) aimed at stemming the tide of cross-border bulk cash smuggling.
The Director-General of GIABA, Dr Abdullahi Shehu, in his remarks, pointed out that cross-border bulk cash smuggling and smuggling of goods had remained rampant criminal activities within the region with adverse implications for the economies of member states.
Shehu said, "In particular, cross-border bulk cash smuggling poses unique challenges to the law enforcement effort and the effective implementation of the AML/CFT regime in general."
He said the devastating effects on regional socio-economic development and security called for greater commitment and collaboration, particularly among border authorities.
The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hammed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), in his welcome address, noted that the workshop was targeted at equipping participants with measures aimed at militating the threat of cross-border bulk cash smuggling.
He said, "The fact that participants are drawn from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Nigeria Customs Service who are among the stakeholders in the enforcement of economic and financial regulations at our points of entry and exit is indeed a welcome development.
"It is expected that the experience gathered would, in no small measure, help curb the nefarious smuggling activities for a more effective security and economic development of our country and the ECOWAS region by extension."