Dr. Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
has highlighted the critical role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in combating financial crimes.
Indeed, NCC boss maintained that the effective application of ICT enables real-time surveillance, regulatory compliance, and secure data processing contribute to the prevention and investigation of financial crimes and the mitigation of risks associated with virtual assets in the financial markets.
Maida spoke at the 11th Anniversary Lecture Series of RealNews Magazine in Lagos, highlighting the importance of robust ICT systems in addressing illicit financial flows in the country.
Maida, who was honoured with induction into the RealNews Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions, described financial crimes as criminal activities involving the misuse, abuse, or manipulation of financial systems for personal gain. These crimes encompass offences such as insider abuse, money laundering, terrorism financing, embezzlement, and fraud.
He stated that financial crimes not only have a significant economic and social impact, but can also be linked to violent crimes resulting in loss of lives.
These crimes pose a threat to the integrity, trustworthiness, stability, security, safety, and future of entities such as countries, enterprises, or individuals, he said.
For Maida, the scope of financial crimes has expanded due to the increasing adoption of digital technologies, the emergence of new technologies, and the transnational nature of the crimes.
“As ICT systems become more complex, cybercriminal activities also become more sophisticated. Criminal actors exploit the inherent and emerging flaws in ICT systems, necessitating the need for tracking illicit movement of funds in and out of the country,” he said.
The NCC boss emphasised that “Nigeria’s telecoms sector has experienced significant growth, generating massive amounts of data daily. Driven by advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), these technologies offer opportunities to identify suspicious digital patterns indicative of crime.
“Through partnerships with financial institutions, data can be filtered to detect these patterns and prevent financial crimes in real-time, enabling a proactive approach to crime prevention.
:To combat financial crimes, the NCC is deploying innovative solutions such as blockchain, instant payments, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, regulatory technology solutions, and automated procedures. These technological tools make it significantly easier to deal with financial crimes while building a long-term strategy for combating them.
“In addition to ensuring increased access to telecommunications services, the NCC has established the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) to handle security incidents that can affect the operations of organisations and individuals.
“The NCC has also incorporated biometric authentication in the use of telecom services and financial transactions, with strict enforcement of compliance by licensees. Furthermore, the commission has enabled digital forensics capabilities.”
Dr. Maida stressed the need for public education and understanding of internet safety to limit the risks associated with the spread of criminality via technology. He also emphasised the importance of increased collaboration and international cooperation to effectively tackle financial crimes.
Dr. Maida called for continued investment in ICT solutions and a multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder strategy involving technology specialists, legal professionals, and legislators to keep up with emerging criminal methods.
The NCC’s recognition of the critical role of ICT in combating financial crimes, reflects the commission’s commitment to leveraging technology for enhanced security, regulatory compliance, and crime prevention in Nigeria