Cybercrime continues to pose a high threat to the Nigerian economy, regardless of several efforts by the government and other various stakeholders to curb the growing issue. This menace is already adversely impacting the country banking system. A 2023 report found that financial institutions had already lost N9.5 billion due to electronic fraud. Premier Oiwoh, managing director of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), was quoted in the report expressing concern over the rise of e-fraud in Nigeria, especially via online betting sites.
As noted in the report, he said the recent introduction of cashless policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has led to a significant rise in the number of transactions in the industry. However, with this newly introduced efficiency policy comes a corresponding rise in fraud rates across all sectors of the economy. First quarter 2023 industry forum portal fraud reports totaled N5.1 billion. Over the past five years, fraud losses have skyrocketed. In 2019, it was at N3 billion, and by 2023, it had risen to almost N9.5 billion.
Fraud losses totaled over N2.7 billion in January.
Additionally, from a present viewpoint, there has been a minor increase between June and July, a 39 percent increase with the actual fraud losses in July 2023 reaching N1.2 billion, a 54 percent increase over the time. In actuality, fraud losses totaled over N2.7 billion in January. Nevertheless, the Committee of Chief Information Security Officers of the Nigerian Financial Industry (CCISONFI) has pledged to turn around the narratives of the report, as there will be a drive to stamp out such illegal acts.
Recently, the organization established a new campaign called “NoGofall Maga Confam Am Again” in conjunction with a non-governmental organization Cybersafe Foundation. The campaign targeted audience encompasses those who, through ignorance, provide cybercriminals with the information they need to defraud them. According to CCISONFI, victims would be more empowered to defend themselves from the plots of cybercriminals if they had access to accurate information. The campaign also targets to reach out to over 40 million Nigerians via radio, television, newspapers, and social media.
Providing Information of awareness in major languages.
Mr. Festus Amede, Chairman of CCISONFI, spoke at the event, saying that the goal of launching the public enlightenment program and cyber security awareness initiative is to increase public awareness of cyber security, which will in turn decrease cybercrime and financial fraud. Amede claimed the company is looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership and the realization of their stated goals, which include reaching over 40 million people in the first two years of the launch and providing content and information of awareness in all of the major Nigerian languages, including Pidgin English.
The successful execution of the campaign primarily revolves around the strategic collaboration with the CBN, the Banker’s Committee, Deposit Money Banks, Payment Service Providers (PSP), Cybersafe Foundation and CCISONFI, a committee comprising the Chief Information Security Officers of Nigeria, formed under the auspices of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Amede elaborate that in a collaborative manner, the groups will persist in guaranteeing the implementation of adequate measures to counteract various cyber security challenges, particularly in the area of preventing customers’ financial losses to cybercriminals.
A high risk in experiencing secure financial services.
Dr. Adewale Obadare, chairman of the Cybersafe Foundation’s advisory board, recognised the project as the perfect measure to combat cybercrime, which is a high risk to consumers in experiencing secure financial services. The groups are optimistic about the initiative in creating human fire barriers, as the criminals are simply enabled by people’s ignorance. Mrs. Favour Femi-Oyewole, Group Chief Information Security Officer (GCISO) of Access Bank, stated in her paper that many people continue to fall victim and unknowingly disclose vital information. When the public are aware, they will be more protective, she added.