Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, expressed deep concern on Monday regarding the evolving security challenges faced by Nigeria and other West African nations. He highlighted the emergence of new forms of threats, particularly posed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generative technologies, leading to increased instances of fraud.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 27th meeting of the ministerial committee of the Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa in Abuja, Fagbemi underscored the need for a thorough assessment to understand both present and future threats encountered by countries in the region.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is evident that the threats we are grappling with are continuously evolving and taking unexpected turns. The rise of artificial intelligence and generative technologies is creating new avenues for fraudulent activities,” Fagbemi remarked.
He stressed the urgency for policy measures to comprehend the range of emerging threats, emphasizing the necessity for ongoing risk assessment and typology work to effectively tackle these challenges.
Fagbemi also addressed the implications of decentralized finance systems prevalent in many regional countries, which have facilitated illicit financial flows, making it increasingly challenging for law enforcement to trace and identify the proceeds of criminal activities.
“The rapid expansion and adaptability of technology, combined with geopolitical instability, offer fertile ground for organized criminal groups and transnational terrorist organizations to conduct their illegal operations globally,” he noted.
He urged the establishment of robust institutional frameworks aimed at enforcing regulations to combat financial crimes within the region, emphasizing the collective commitment required to safeguard financial systems from the threats posed by money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation activities.
Fagbemi reiterated the need for legislative policies and institutional structures to maintain the integrity of financial systems and protect against criminal financial activities.