Ahead of the February 16 Presidential and National Elections in Nigeria, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressive Congress, APC, has received another shocking news from the disapora.
As you read, the European Union, EU, just added Nigeria to countries on its “dirty money blacklist”.
According to Reuters, the EU said the nations in this category pose a threat because of tax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering. Also added to the list which was initially 16, are Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Panama, Libya, Botswana, the Bahamas and four US territories of American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The other listed countries are Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Yemen.
Criteria used to blacklist the countries include low sanctions against money laundering and terrorism financing. Other criteria were insufficient cooperation with the EU on the matter and lack of transparency over the beneficial owners of companies and trusts.
The move has triggered criticism from several EU states worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.
The list now includes 23 jurisdictions, with Bosnia Herzegovina, Guyana, Laos, Uganda and Vanuatu removed.
The 28 EU states have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the list.
Vera Jourova, EU justice commissioner, who proposed the list, was quoted as saying she was confident states would not block it.
She said it was urgent to act on the list because of the “risks spread like wildfire in the banking sector.”
She added the commission would continue monitoring other jurisdictions not yet listed.
Apart from reputational damage, the inclusion of Nigeria on the list complicates financial relations with the EU.
The bloc’s banks would also have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.
This comes at a time President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is insisting it has been committed to the fight against corruption and money laundering.
In 2017, the president signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to give room for prosecution of Nigerians who launder public funds to the country.
The sad news comes as some Chieftains of the ruling APC, are allegedly to have reached out to Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, in anticipation that the former Vice President would win the 2019 Presidential election, slated for Saturday.
According to them, the APC stalwarts have been holding secret meetings with the PDP Presidential Candidate, with a view of working out “exit deals”.
“Atiku has the momentum now, and the wise thing to do politically, is to consider options, after all, in politics there is no permanent friend or permanent enemy”, one of the sources revealed.
Among those reaching out to the Atiku camp, according to the sources who preferred to be anonymous, are three senior influential members of the party.
These three APC henchmen, believe that the best option left for them, is to start early to work out a contingency plan, which if concretised, may see them work secretly to deliver Atiku, come Saturday, February 16.
There are also talks of a famous Lagos Politician, considering the option of working with the PDP Presidential Candidate, according to the sources.
There have been rumours that Atiku has gotten the backing of Western countries, in his quest to be Nigeria’s new Leader.
More details soon…..