The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has sought the collaboration of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on curbing cybercrimes in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the request when he paid a courtesy call on the ICPC chairman, Barr. Ekpo Nta, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He expressed the commitment of the NCC towards collaborating with other agencies for the development of the country.
“We solicit for the cooperation of the ICPC in the full implementation of the cybercrime bill, which was signed into law in 2015.
“By so doing, we will have a better understanding of the real situation especially at this time that social media practice and cybercrime are on the upsurge.
“Social media gives practitioners unfettered access to information dissemination but they must do this with responsibility, failing which the ICPC could come in to checkmate cases of abuse as this is a part of the process of fighting corruption.
“The NCC as the regulator of the telecoms industry recognizes the importance of providing an enabling environment for the development of ICT and this can only be achieved if there is renewed and continuous collaboration between sister agencies for the common good of nation building,” he said.
The ICPC boss, in his response, expressed the commission’s commitment to fighting cybercrime, saying it was taking steps to prevent crime committed through Information and Communication Technology platforms, especially fraud committed through cash transfers via mobile banking applications.
He said ICPC had directed banks to introduce safety measures to protect customers who make cash transactions with their mobile devices.
“Now you can do some movements in your accounts by entering a code linked to your bank and money is disbursed. I have used it myself and have also realized that some of these applications do not require a secret pin number, as soon as you type the code and the person’s accounts details it pops up, and you say send, it tells you enter the last 4 digit of your ATM card the money is sent and nobody is asking of a pin known to you.
“Anybody that has access to your card can easily provide the last digits on your ATM card. So we are issuing a circular to the banks that we have found to have happened and I would like to inform NCC to also use the system that will help us in matters like this,” he stated.
In a related development, the NCC boss said the telecommunication sector had contributed immensely to the economic development of the nation, adding it had contributed N500 billion to the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the last 10 years.
He stated this when he received members of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), led by its chairman, Engr Gbenga Adebayo, who paid him a courtesy call at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Danbatta who revealed that no other sector had been able to do that much apart from the oil and gas sector also said the sector provided over 2.5 million direct and indirect jobs within the same period.
He said: “We are in no doubt about what impact the telecom sector can make to the economy of the country. It has created 2.5m direct and indirect jobs in the last 10 years; no sector has done that except may be the oil and gas. No sector except for oil and gas has succeeded in contributing N500bn to the federation account in the last 10 years. No sector has contributed 10 percent to the GDP except for oil and gas. In 2014 alone, the investment in the sector hit $10bn. So, telecoms sector has contributed more than any other sector to the economy.”
He, however, said the current forex policy was negatively affecting development in the sector, even as he called on the Federal Government’s economic team to relax its policy to protect investments in the sector.
“I want to join in the call for government to reconsider and revisit its fiscal and monetary policy as it relates to forex. The operators are having hard time doing business of this forex,” he added.
Earlier, Adebayo appealed to NCC to do something urgent about multiple taxation in the sector and the proposed telecom tax on consumers.
He said the gains in the sector might be eroded if the telecoms tax law was enacted as it would affect many poor subscribers.