A NON-governmental organisation, the Anti-Corruption Agencies of Nigeria, has disclosed that every year in Nigeria, almost $18 billion is lost to Illicit Financial Crimes like bribery, Internet fraud and non-payment of taxes.
It also said each Nigerian loses the equivalent of N35,000 yearly because of financial crimes.
This money, according to the group, could be used to build roads, establish world-class health and education systems and create jobs for Nigerians.
The group is part of a campaign, funded by the British Government, to deter financial criminals and encourage communities to report illicit financial crimes.
Nine government organisations including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), have joined forces with the media and civil society to design and launch the #protectwhatsyours campaign.
The group said the campaign encourages Nigerians to recognise financial crime, understand how harmful it is to the economy and then join others who are standing up to financial criminals by reporting it to the relevant authorities
“Every year thousands of people in Nigeria are arrested for committing financial crimes, it is hoped that this campaign will reduce criminal activity even further.”
What is IFF
Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) according to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) are illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another for various reasons.
Major sources of these funds are proceeds of corruption, theft, bribery, criminal activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling and commercial activities such as tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing, etc.
IFFs have affected Nigeria in various ways – including loss of revenue, underdevelopment, poor infrastructure and health care, among others.
The drain on resources and tax revenues caused by IFFs blocks the expansion of basic social services and infrastructure programmes that are targeted at improving the wellbeing and capacities of all citizens, particularly the very poor. In Nigeria and other developing countries, IFFs mean fewer hospitals, schools, police, roads, and job opportunities.
Other forms of illicit finance are instances where people offer bribes or use the proceeds of the bribe to launder money or engage in Internet fraud.