2 November 2017

Nigeria: NCC - We Will Continue to Fight Against Cyber-Criminality

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it will not relent in its fight against cybercriminals until the cyberspace is completely free from attacks.

The NCC reiterated its commitment to cybersecurity at a workshop of the Industry Working Group (IWG) on electronic banking fraud at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) Kano, last week.

On assumption of office, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta reeled out his 8-Point agenda for the industry, of which facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders to foster ICT for sustainable economic development and social advancement became priority for the Commission.

The IWG, which was constituted early in the year, has as members, stakeholders from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) as well as Value Added Service (VAS) providers.

The Executive Commissioner, Technical Services at the NCC, Ubale Maska, in his opening remarks to participants at the workshop, said the high level of fraud in the industry led to the constitution of the IWG which is saddled with the responsibility of proffering solutions to the rising rate of electronic fraud in the country.

During his presentation titled: "Electronic Banking Fraud in Nigeria - Challenges and Way Forward", a Deputy Director at the NCC, Bako Wakil, said it became necessary to grab the bull by the horn, following a visit by the Deputy Governor of the CBN to management of the NCC to discuss the prevalence of banking fraud using telecommunications infrastructure. This was necessitated, after petitions by Nigerian banks to the apex bank began to raise red-flags at the sophisticated methods employed by cyber criminals via telecoms infrastructure in defrauding unsuspecting customers.

Wakil said the terms of reference for the committee was to look at the technicality and security of mobile banking; awareness issues in mobile banking; SIM card replacement processes; SIM card cloning as well as unsolicited text messages.

The sub-committee, which was set up acknowledged that banking fraud remained a growing national problem, which denies innocent Nigerians of their earnings daily and came up with 21 recommendations categorised into short-term, mid-term and long term, with the aim of checkmating the growing threat to Nigerians. The IWG is expected to meet quarterly to review the progress and address new challenges facing the sector.

The workshop was participatory and members of the public seized the opportunity to contribute to discussions by welcoming the strategic collaboration between NCC and CBN in checking the excesses of cyber criminals. NCC was encouraged to ramp up its sensitization exercise around the country by continuously engaging and enlightening the public on developments in the telecoms industry.

Kano Zonal Coordinator, NCC, Adamu Amshi, told the gathering that the enforcement team of the Commission along with security agents had recently arrested telecoms vendors selling pre-registered SIM cards and handed them over to the relevant authorities for prosecution in order to protect telecoms consumers from unfair practices by unscrupulous elements in the society.

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