Banks & Civil Society in Nigeria

Spaces for Change | S4C organized the maiden edition of the Banks & Civil Society conference in Nigeria on February 8th, 2024, to facilitate discussions on the role of the banks and other financial institutions (BOFIs) in preserving the operating environment for civil society in Nigeria.  The conference assembled diverse stakeholders from the banking and civil society sectors, including the academia, media, government departments, independent experts on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), and industry regulators such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), SCUML, and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

At this event, co-organized with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), with support from the Global Center on Cooperative Security (GCCS) and the Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR), stakeholders examined ways of addressing financial access restrictions faced by non-profit organizations (NPOs) arising from the implementation of banking policies and regulatory measures to counter the financing of terrorism in Nigeria.  Based on the evidence presented by civil society representatives to stakeholders, there was consensus among policymakers, regulators, banks, and other financial institutions that counter-terrorism measures were, indeed, impacting non-profits negatively. Leveraging the diversity of expertise in the room, the discussions offered a glimmer of hope for collaborative problem-solving toward removing limitations to NPOs’ financial inclusion while safeguarding the integrity of the country’s financial system. This report chronicles the proceedings at the one-day conference held in Lagos.

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