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Group tasks media on reporting money laundering, terrorist financing



Group tasks media on reporting money laundering, terrorist financing

The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) has charged the media in West Africa on effective coverage of money laundering and terrorism financing issues plaguing the region.

Mr Edwin Harris Jr., the Director-General, GIABA, gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the Regional Training Workshop on Investigative Journalism on Economic and Financial Crimes in West Africa in Abuja on Wednesday.

Harris said the media had a role to play in the treatment of general and factual information on crime and in the dissemination of research and studies on the fight against transnational organised crime.

The director-general also said the media, particularly investigative journalists, played a crucial role in uncovering allegations of corruption in the fight against financial and economic crimes.

Moreso, he added, the media should also promote good governance, attract the sustained attention of law enforcement authorities and the public to the fight against financial and economic crimes.


He, however, noted that media, an essential source of detection, remained under-exploited in corruption cases.

“To this end, it stresses the need for closer and more productive collaboration with the media, as you constitute one of the main sources of information and intelligence, both for political decision-makers and for the international information community, both for policy makers and the general public.”

Furthermore, Harris said GIABA, in line with its mandate, had carried out sensitisation programmes for media professionals since 2009.

He also said in 2010 in Abuja, GIABA established a regional network of investigative journalists specialised in the denunciation of economic and financial crimes.

“Furthermore, in line with the GIABA 2023 to 2027 strategic plan developed in the context of the ever-changing global Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) outlook following the revision of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and methodology, there has been focus on obligation to make regional AML/CFT interventions more effective.


“It aims to contribute to member states’ AML/CFT efforts and strengthen the engagement of non-state actors and critical sectors playing a crucial role in the effective implementation of AML/CFT measures,” he said

The GIABA boss also called on member states to cooperate as the group could not deal with the issues of money laundering and terrorism financing alone.

“Organised crime knows no borders and all nations must cooperate fully to deal with it.

“GIABA alone cannot overcome these problems. Whatever efforts we make at the regional level will have little impact without strong national commitments and institutions.

“We need the support of the various AML/CFT stakeholders, especially the media, to carry out our activities in order to prevent criminals from undermining the stability and integrity of our financial systems and economy in general.”


Also speaking with journalists in an interview, Mr Modibbo Tukur, the Director, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said the issue of legislation differed across various parts of the region.

Mr Mohammed Ahmed represented the director.

“In Nigeria, the Money Laundering Prohibition and Prevention Act was passed in May 2022, and the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act was passed also in 2022.

“Specifically speaking to Nigeria’s legislative framework, what that has done is it has strengthened the abilities of Nigerian institutions to counter and combat both money laundering and terrorism financing,

“and we are seeing the progress that law has brought about through our collaboration with GIABA, in terms of the assessment it has made to show where we have made progress and seeing parts of our laws that were not strong enough, and helping us to identify where we can make additional improvement.


“This collaboration between GIABA and the countries is very useful in terms of a process of continuous improvement. It is not a journey you can end in a single day.”

The three-day regional training is intended for journalists specialised in economic and financial crimes and investigative journalists from various categories of the media in GIABA member states.

The objective of the training is aimed at creating a platform for interaction with the media on money laundering and terrorism financing issues and on security-related news in the West African region.


Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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