Banks in the country have been directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to implement enhanced measures on existing accounts and transactions related to the Benin Republic.
In a circular dated April 11 and signed by Asuquo Evelyn, director of banking supervision department, it was stated that the directive became necessary following intelligence reports from competent sources that the Benin Republic is becoming a hub for illicit drug trade in West Africa.
The apex which has instituted measures to prevent Nigerian banks from being used as conduits for the movement of dirty money, instructed the banks to strengthen their know-your-customer (KYC) and customer due diligence (CDD) policies.
“We write to bring to your attention an intelligence report availed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which indicated that the Benin Republic is increasingly becoming a drug trafficking transit and consumption hub in West Africa.
“In order to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduits for laundering such illicit funds, it has become imperative to intensify the know-your-customer (KYC) and customer due diligence (CDD) measures in your bank as required by regulation.
“Consequently, you are required to implement additional measures on customers and business relationships linked to the Benin Republic. You are also required to re-classify related customers and transactions as high risk and conduct enhanced due diligence (ED) procedures accordingly.”