WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE DIRECTOR, CONSUMER AFFAIRS BUREAU, NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NCC), ALH. ALKASIM ABUBAKAR UMAR AT THE 2ND QUARTER 2023 INDUSTRY CONSUMER ADVISORY FORUM (ICAF) MEETING ON THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2023
The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta
Distinguished Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu
Heads of Departments, Ministries, and Agencies here present
Management and Staff of NCC
Representatives of all Security Agencies here Present
Representatives of Financial Institutions
ICAF Chairman and Member Institution representatives
Gentlemen of the press
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2nd Quarter 2023 Open Forum of the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF) with the theme “Combating E-fraud on Telecom Platforms and Building Consumer Confidence in the Digital Economy”. We gather here today to address a pressing issue that affects not only the telecommunications industry but also the overall safety and security of our nation’s digital landscape.
In recent years, the growth of the telecommunications sector in Nigeria has been remarkable. With increasing access to mobile phones and internet connectivity, we have witnessed a surge in digital transactions, making our lives more convenient and efficient. However, this rapid expansion has also opened new avenues for criminals to exploit unsuspecting individuals through various forms of electronic fraud. According to some reports, Nigerians have lost about N12.5 billion to financial crimes linked to the telecommunications industry in the past four (4) years.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated that 600 billion US Dollars is lost to cybercrime each year, an increase from a 2014 study that put global losses at about 445 billion US Dollars.
In Africa, the peril of cybercrimes recorded a massive rise in the first six months of 2022, “with phishing and scams hitting 438 percent and 174 percent in Kenya and Nigeria, respectively”, the Guardian Newspapers. reported on August 3, 2022.
E-fraud poses a significant threat to our society, as it undermines the trust and confidence in our digital platforms, hampers economic growth, and adversely impacts the lives of our citizens. As the regulatory authority responsible for overseeing the telecommunications industry, the NCC recognizes its duty to safeguard the interests of consumers and protect the integrity of our digital ecosystem.
This forum provides us with an opportunity to come together as stakeholders, including telecom operators, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, government bodies, and concerned citizens, to collaborate and devise effective strategies to combat e-fraud.
The NCC remains committed to its mandate of creating an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of the telecommunications sector. To this end, we have already implemented several initiatives aimed at mitigating e-fraud risks. However, we understand that the battle against e-fraud requires constant adaptation and continuous improvement. Hence, this forum serves as a platform to share best practices, exchange knowledge, and explore innovative solutions to stay ahead of the ever-evolving tactics employed by fraudsters.
I encourage all participants to actively engage in discussions, share their experiences, and propose practical recommendations. Let us leverage the collective expertise in this room to develop strategies that strike a balance between convenience and security, ensuring that our telecom platforms remain safe and trustworthy.
Moreover, I urge all stakeholders to prioritize consumer education and awareness. By equipping individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify and report e-fraud, we can empower them to protect themselves and contribute to the broader fight against cybercrime.
The Consumer is one of the major stakeholders in the telecoms industry. It is our desire as a Commission to ensure that they enjoy primary focus. We believe that through adequate education, information sharing, and the provision of an array of channels for redress, we can safeguard telecom consumers, and innovatively promote the prospect for greater Consumer Experience in the Digital Economy.
Together, we can build a culture of digital literacy and resilience that safeguards our nation’s digital future.
In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the participants, speakers, and organizers who have made this forum possible. Your dedication and commitment to addressing e-fraud in the telecom sector are commendable. Let us seize this opportunity to forge stronger partnerships and develop practical solutions that will enable us to overcome this challenge.
Thank you, and I wish us all fruitful deliberations and a successful forum.