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ICT critical tool for fighting crime- Maida

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By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida has emphasized the critical role Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has in combating in fighting financial crimes.

Maida emphasized that the effective application of ICT through enabling real-time surveillance, regulatory compliance, and secure data processing can enhance a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaborations to address issues of illicit financial flows in the country.

The NCC EVC who was a speaker at the 11th Anniversary Lecture Series of RealNews Magazine in Lagos on Tuesday, said, “robust ICT systems are critical for preventing and investigating financial crimes or mitigating the risks associated with virtual assets in the financial markets.”

Maida, who was represented at the forum by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, described financial crimes as “criminal activities that involve transactions, abuse, misuse, deception, or manipulation of financial systems for personal gain.”

He said the crimes also include a wide range of offenses such as Insider abuse, money laundering, terrorism financing, embezzlement and all kinds of fraud.

He noted that financial crimes do not only have a huge economic and social impact but can also be linked to violent crimes that lead to loss of lives, adding that they also threaten the integrity, trustworthiness, stability, security, safety, and future of an entity such as a country, enterprise, or an individual.

Maida disclosed that the scope of financial crimes has broadened and created further concerns as a result of increasing adoption of digital technologies, the emergence of new technologies, and the often-transnational nature of the crimes.

Maida noted that as ICT systems get more complex, so do cyber criminal activities, which has enabled criminals to hijack the inherent flaws in the ICT systems to cause harm, adding that technology has to be positioned to track movement of illicit movement of funds in and out of the country.

According to Maida, to combat financial crimes, innovative solutions such as blockchain, instant payments, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, regulatory technology solutions, and automated procedures are being deployed, adding that the use of technological tools has made it significantly easier to deal with financial crime while building a long-term strategy for combating it.

Meanwhile, the EVC said that to boost access to telecommunications services, the Commission has established the Computer Security Incident Response Team, (CSIRT), consisting a group of experts in the Commission to handle security incidents that can affect the operations of organizations and individuals; incorporated biometric authentication in the use of telecom services and financial transactions on telecom carriers with strict enforcement of compliance by the licensees; as well as enabling digital forensics, among others.

Furthermore, he said, “Nigeria’s telecoms sector has grown significantly, resulting in massive amounts of data being generated daily, the advent of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) provides a gateway to identify suspicious digital patterns indicative of crime. Through partnerships with financial institutions, data can be filtered to identify these suspicious patterns and nip them in the bud.”

These technologies provide real-time transaction monitoring, allowing for a proactive approach to crime prevention” Maida said.

Maida was inducted into the RealNews Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contribution as Guest of Honor at the event.

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