Nigerians may soon not be able to use their cards for international transactions

Nigerian Visa and Master Card holders face the risk of an international transaction blackout as the Egmont Group is reportedly contemplating the expulsion of the West African country from the group at its meeting next month.

Speculation regarding the Nigeria’s possible expulsion is that, the global financial intelligence company is still unconvinced that Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has sufficient independence from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Egmont group that provides a platform for the exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing among members, had previously suspended the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) for leaking sensitive information to the public.

Adding to the reasons for the unit’s prior suspension is Egmont’s suspicion of NFIU being a tool at the disposal of the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to intimidate specific political figures in the country.

However, the Nigerian Senate passed a bill granting autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU),but in practice, the autonomy has not happened as the bill is yet to be passed by the House of Representatives.

With the threat of expulsion looming over the country, Nigeria would suffer the consequence of being blacklisted from international transactions, as an expulsion could affect use of MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards by Nigerians.

Also, an expulsion will lead to increased cost for international and business transactions from Nigeria and reduction in cross-border trade, that could eventually affect the country’s economy negatively.