The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a specialized Institution of ECOWAS, has said it is involving religious leaders and faith based organizations in the fight against money laundering and combating financing of terrorism in West Africa.
The organization in a statement by its media office, said the involvement of religious leaders in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is to make the campaign more effective and sustainable to the level that it becomes a consistent message with the populace.
GIABA explained that the United Nations has since recognized the role of religious leaders in Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and promoting the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue and had articulated a Plan of Action on PVE that emphasizes the importance for faith and community leaders to mentor “vulnerable followers so as to enable them to reject violent ideologies” and promote “tolerance, understanding and reconciliation between communities”.
“It is obvious faith appeals to people on emotional levels and gives voice to a wide range of community concern. Using persuasion as a strategy, religious leaders need to understand what specific contribution they can, and have to make, to overcoming the menace of ML/TF and transforming public understanding, attitudes and behavior,” the organization stated.
The process will commence with a 2 –day national sensitization workshop for religious leaders and institutions on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
It explained that the broad objective of the seminar is to raise the awareness level of religious leaders on their role in fight against Money Laundering (ML) and the Financing of Terrorism (TF) as well as build strong partnership with Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) in the fight agains the twin scourges of money laundering and terrorist financing and promote understanding of GIABA’s mandate and agree on actionable points to curb violent extremism and promote peaceful co-existence in the society.
“Fundamentally, one of GIABA’s strategic goals is the promotion of strategic partnerships with the private sector, civil society and other key stakeholders. This is aimed at increasing awareness of ML/TF in order to empower citizens to take action,” the organization stated.
The programme is scheduled to hold from 19-20 April 2017 in Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
It stressed that the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders towards protecting the economies and financial systems from the laundering of proceeds of crime adding that GIABA recognises the valuable contribution of religious leaders as guardians of faith and the tremendous sway their institutions hold amongst their followers.