The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cautioned banks over transactions with customers and businesses linked to the Benin Republic to avoid being used as a conduit for money laundering and illicit drug deals.
Director Banking and Supervision Department, CBN, Mrs. Asuquo Evelyn gave this warning in a circular to all banks, adding that the apex bank had received intelligence reports from competent sources that the Benin Republic is becoming a hub for the illicit drug trade in West Africa.
The circular stated: “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,” the circular reads.
“In order to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduits for laundering such illicit funds, it has become imperative to intensify the now-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.”