The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has underscored the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the fight against financial crimes. The effective application of ICT is seen as critical for real-time surveillance, regulatory compliance, and secure data processing.
The NCC also emphasized the need for multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaborations to address illicit financial flows in the country.
During the 11th Anniversary Lecture Series of RealNews Magazine in Lagos, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Dr. Aminu Maida, was inducted into the RealNews Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions.
In his speech, he highlighted the significance of robust ICT systems in preventing and investigating financial crimes and mitigating risks associated with virtual assets in financial markets.
Maida, represented at the event by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, defined financial crimes as activities involving transactions, abuse, misuse, deception, or manipulation of financial systems for personal gain. These crimes encompass offenses such as insider abuse, money laundering, terrorism financing, embezzlement, and various forms of fraud.
He pointed out that financial crimes not only have significant economic and social impacts but can also be linked to violent crimes resulting in loss of lives. These crimes pose threats to the integrity, trustworthiness, stability, security, and the future of entities, including countries, enterprises, and individuals.
Maida stated that the scope of financial crimes has expanded due to the increasing adoption of digital technologies and the transnational nature of these offenses. As ICT systems become more complex, so do cybercriminal activities. Criminal actors take advantage of flaws in ICT systems, exploiting these weaknesses to cause harm.
However, Maida also highlighted the potential of ICT in tracking illicit movement of funds in and out of the country.
He mentioned that Nigeria’s telecoms sector generates massive amounts of data daily, and the use of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can identify suspicious digital patterns indicative of crime. Through partnerships with financial institutions, these technologies provide real-time transaction monitoring, allowing for a proactive approach to crime prevention.
In the fight against financial crimes, innovative solutions such as blockchain, instant payments, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, regulatory technology solutions, and automated procedures are being deployed. The use of technological tools has made it significantly easier to deal with financial crime while building a long-term strategy for combating it.
Additionally, the NCC has taken steps to ensure increased access to telecommunications services, such as establishing the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), incorporating biometric authentication in telecom services and financial transactions, and enabling digital forensics.
Maida emphasized the need for public education and understanding of internet safety to limit risks associated with the spread of criminality through technology.
He also called for increased collaboration and international cooperation to effectively tackle financial crime.
The NCC sees continued investment in ICT solutions and a multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder strategy as critical approaches to staying ahead of emerging criminal methods.