Terrorists Using Cryptocurrency Traders To Fund Insecurity — EFCC

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has raised concerns about the unwitting involvement of young cryptocurrency traders in funding terrorism in Nigeria.

Olukoyede revealed that terrorists are exploiting the cryptocurrency trade to finance their activities, with some traders unaware that their financiers are sponsors of terrorism.

According to Olukoyede, some of the individuals who receive funds to trade in cryptocurrencies are unknowingly facilitating terrorism financing. He highlighted that among the 1,146 bank accounts recently frozen by the EFCC, some were identified as conduits for terrorism funding.

The disclosure by Olukoyede during an event organized by Civil Society Organizations in Abuja highlights the importance of raising awareness and building partnerships to address emerging challenges in the fight against financial crimes. Collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies, regulatory authorities, civil society, and the private sector are essential to effectively combatting terrorism financing and other illicit activities facilitated by cryptocurrency transactions.

The programme, titled, “Multi-stakeholders’ national dialogue on preventing terrorism financing and violent extremism,” was held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotels, Abuja on Wednesday.”

Olukoyede revealed, “Some of you are aware of our activities in the area of investigating virtual currency trading and the likes of cryptocurrencies.”

“They are potential platforms to fund terrorism. A lot of us don’t understand that. Some of our discoveries during the investigation of some of these platforms were mind-boggling.”

“We thought Binance was a major one. Yes, it was. We are prosecuting them. But there are other platforms we have discovered.”

“They used some of these young men. Some of them don’t know that the people who gave them money to trade are people who fund terrorism.”

The EFCC boss further said there is a need to adopt technology in tracking money used to fund terrorism in the country.

Olukoyede narrated how he was informed by a friend in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, that dollar bills across the world can be tracked with technology.

“It is important for us to adopt the use of technology,” he said.

“I was comparing notes with an assistant director in the FBI — a friend of mine. He said: ‘My brother, from our systems in the US, we can track every printed dollar anywhere in the world’,” he added.

The EFCC boss added that Nigeria must get to that stage where technology can be deployed to track naira notes used for terrorism funding.