In the late 1990's, Nigeria gained notoriety for being I one of the biggest hubs for Advance Fee Fraud in the world. The growing and thriving prevalence of this crime, and other financial crimes, became a menace to the economic and moral fabric of Nigeria, as well as the global perception of Nigeria in the international community. In 2001, Nigeria was listed on the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) blacklist; a list comprising of countries referred to as “Non Co-operative Countries/ Territories (NCCTs)”, in the fight against money laundering. Having identified the deficiencies in Nigeria's efforts to address money laundering and other financial crimes, the FATF recommended the criminalisation of these crimes and the establishment of a financial crimes unit, as criteria for removal from the blacklist.
In an effort to address the menace constituted by financial crimes, Nigeria's first financial intelligence unit was birthed. This commenced with the enactment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 (the 2004 Act) which provided for the establishment of the Economic and Crimes Commission (EFCC). This report analyses the extent of EFCC's powers, particularly in relation to its powers to freeze any assets and accounts of individuals, corporations and the government.