Reps okays anti-terrorism, money laundering bills

Reconvening for a one-day sitting, House of Representatives, yesterday, passed five important bills with four of them relating to terrorism, money laundering and proceeds of crime.

The bills amended existing Acts to bring them in tandem with international best practices.

The legislations include a bill for an Act to repeal the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013 and enact the Terrorism (Prohibition and Prevention) Bill, 2022 to provide for an effective, unified and comprehensive legal, regulatory and institutional framework for the detection, prevention, prohibition, prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism, terrorism financing, proliferation and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Nigeria and for related matters.

A bill for an Act to repeal the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and enact the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022 to provide comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria and establish the special control unit under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and related matters.

Others are a bill for an Act to provide framework for support, management and protection of witnesses, who provide information, evidence or any other assistance to law enforcement agencies during inquiries, investigations or prosecutions and related matters.

Also considered was a bill for an Act to repeal the Public Complaints Commission Act, Cap. P37, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Public Complaints Commission Bill, 2022 for establishment of the Public Complaints Commission with wide powers to inquire into complaints by members of the public concerning the administrative actions of public authorities and companies or their officials and provide legal framework for making public interest and related matters.

The lower legislative chamber later adjourned to May 24 when it is hoped that party primaries would have been over.

Briefing newsmen after plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, House spokesman, Benjamin Kalu, stated that the EFCC “is now better equipped to manage money laundering Acts with the hope to improve on the nation’s image.

HOWEVER, the Nigerian Bar Association on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has urged the Senate to jettison the anti-kidnapping bill.

It condemned the bid to criminalise ransom payment without tackling the root cause of the menace.

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