07 Mar

Daily Watch – Reps ensure NFIU law inches closer to life, Nigerian airlines get FAA top marks

  • The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at helping authorities to tackle money laundering and funding for terrorism. Following international pressure, the law makes the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit an independent body that can share information with similar agencies abroad. The Senate, Nigeria’s upper house, is expected to approve the bill on Wednesday.The National Assembly’s move comes after the Egmont Group, a body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units across the world, threatened to delist Nigeria unless the local unit gained autonomy, enabling it to deal with financial crimes more effectively. Until now, the agency has operated under the EFCC. The Egmont Group had insisted that failure to make it legally independent would have led to financial transactions from Nigeria including funds transfer and credit cards would have been subject to special controls.
  • Minister for state for aviation, Hadi Sirika says the FG has approved an upgrade of Benin City’s airport to international standard within 12 months. Sirika made this known during a courtesy visit to Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki. Sirika said the approval was due to the fact the Benin Airport is one of the oldest airports in Nigeria and that the zone needs a standard international airport to serve its growing economic interests. He added that the airport will be fitted with necessary facilities within 12 months. “There are plans to also extend the runway at the Benin Airport to enable it to handle the high volume of traffic with the capacity to accommodate cargo planes,” he said.
  • Minority Oando shareholders have petitioned the House Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, accusing the SEC of shielding the oil services firm from a probe. The allegation was contained in a fresh petition, signed by Taiwo Oderinde and Nnodu Okeke, representatives of an organisation of aggrieved shareholders, the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria. The shareholders while commending the House Committee on its efforts to “sanitise the Nigerian capital market and to make it one of the best in the world,” said he time had come to take decisive action on Oando’s forensic audit. An earlier PROSAN petition to federal lawmakers on the state of the company had prompted the House of Representatives to direct the SEC to investigate its various allegations, helping to aggravate a budding corporate crisis.
  • Nigerian airlines will enjoy the benefit of operating direct flights to the United States as the country has retained its Federal Aviation Administration category one status. Nigeria scaled the hurdle after a 2017 safety audit of the country’s civil aviation industry. Three months after the FAA visit, the country was informed that it will be retaining the category one status which it attained in 2010. The CAT One was imposed by the US Congress some 45 years ago for any airline flying through American airspace. Such airlines are presumed to operate with the highest safety standards.