The UK Government is extending its partnership and support to the Nigerian Government, civil society and media, to launch the #ProtectWhatsYours campaign, which aims to raise awareness of illicit finance. Illicit finance is an umbrella term, which includes but is not limited to illegal financial activity such as cyber-crime, money laundering, terrorist financing, corruption and bribery. The campaign, which will be seen on TV and online highlights the detrimental and long lasting effects that illegal financial activity is having on communities and on Nigeria’s entire economy. It is estimated that illicit financial crimes costs every Nigerian 35,000 Naira for each year of their life, and robs the population of $18billion annually.
Financial crime directly impacts upon the development and economic growth of Nigeria, with the monies lost each year being diverted away from key areas for sector growth; including infrastructure, technology, and the health and education sector. The #ProtectWhatsYours campaign seeks to encourage Nigerians to recognise and report financial crime in their immediate environment, and calls on Nigerian diaspora to report from around the world, where assets could be located. Illicit finance and associated crimes do not recognise borders, which is why the campaign is necessary to empower citizens to report suspected financial criminals to the relevant authorities both at home, and to go one step further to encourage reporting from around the world. In her remarks, the British High Commissioner H.E Catorina Laing said: explained the importance of direct harms that illicit finance causes.
According to the statement, “It is important we understand the direct harms that illicit finance causes, this is a crime that affects every citizen of Nigeria. The #ProtectWhatsYours campaign aims to demonstrate these harms and encourage reporting to the relevant agencies. This will help to continue the excellent work in investigating the individuals who are involved in illicit finance, whether this be the professional enablers who facilitate money laundering or those directly involved in corruption, tax avoidance, bribery and other crimes. The UK has partnered to deliver this innovative Prevent campaign and we thank all agencies, civil society groups and media organisations who collaborated to deliver the films and content. This is another excellent example of UK/Nigeria co-operation in tackling illicit financial crime.” Andrew Clowes Illicit Finance Lead, FCDO in Nigeria, said: “This is an innovative project which has brought together Nigeria’s government agencies, civil society and media organisations who have collaborated to produce the key messages in this campaign. Illicit finance is a crime which cuts across all sectors of Nigeria’s society and directly impacts on the development and growth of the country.
“It is a crime which costs the country $18billion dollars per year. These figures are staggering. Citizens need to understand the direct impact this crime has on them and their families, and should be bold to report those they believe are involved in these crimes.” Each year thousands of people in Nigeria are arrested for committing financial associated crimes. It is hoped that this campaign will help to reduce criminal activity even further. Tracing and recovering of stolen assets is key to the campaign message, and increased reporting will support Nigeria’s anti- crime agencies to locate and retrieve assets. The #ProtectWhatsYours sensitisation campaign comprises of a series of short video animations will air on the digital platforms of media agencies such as The Premium times, International Centre for Investigative Reporting and Paradigm Initiative, from Thursday 30 June 2022, and will air nationally across the NTA and Channels network, from Monday 4 July 2022.