The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), expressed concern on Monday over the evolving security challenges encountered by Nigeria and other West African nations, describing them as unforeseen developments.
In particular, he highlighted the emergence of security threats stemming from Artificial Intelligence and generative technologies, which are being utilized as new avenues for fraudulent activities.
Fagbemi conveyed these thoughts during the inauguration of the 27th meeting of the ministerial committee of the Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa held in Abuja.
He emphasized the need for a comprehensive assessment to identify both current and future threats faced by countries in the region.
He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is very clear that the threats we are facing will only continue to grow and evolve in unanticipated ways. In particular, the threat of artificial intelligence and generative technologies are already beginning to manifest new avenues for fraud.
“At the policy level, we must make all efforts to ensure that we understand the range of threats that we face and those that will confront us in the future. This emphasises the need for continuous and ongoing ways of risk assessment and typologies work.”
The Attorney-General of the Federation further highlighted that the decentralized finance system, widely adopted in several countries within the region, has facilitated illicit financial flows.
He emphasized that this phenomenon has significantly complicated the task of tracing and identifying such flows for law enforcement agencies.
“In particular, the explosion in decentralised finance has created opportunities for the kind of anonymous financial systems that facilitate illicit financial flows and hamper the ability of our law enforcement and regulatory agencies to trace and identify the proceeds of criminal activity.”
Fagbemi called for the development of institutional frameworks for the enforcement of financial crime regulations in the region.
He said, “Our collective commitment to put in place legislative policy and institutional frameworks is necessary to protect the integrity of our financial systems from threats of money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing.”