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Cybercrime: Stakeholders at ICT Forum Worry Over N127Bn Annual Losses

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Stakeholders who gathered at this year’s edition of the African Digital Awards (ADA) have expressed worry over and seek measures to curb N127 billion annual estimated economic losses to rising wave of cybercrimes in the country.

ADA is a twin programme, which annually features an award ceremony after an intensive workshop tagged Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF), where critical issues affecting the industries are assessed and solutions proffered by industry regulators and stakeholders from the private sector of the industry.

Discussions at this year’s forum NIICF forum was around “Broadband Access: The Challenges of Cyber Security: Threats and Effect on Social Media Era.

While the issue of cybercrime, in its ramifications is said to be a global phenomenon, the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Communications, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Nigerian Communication Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), MTN, MainOne, Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), among others were on accord that Nigeria needed to develop a strategy backed with thorough implementation of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 towards curbing the economic losses.

According to them, In Nigeria and other countries around the world, the internet has become an integral part of everyday life and has become a key development index, whose measurement is taken by development-oriented organisations and agencies.

While noting that there was no doubt about the positive impact of the internet and its peripheral technologies in enhancing people’s daily lives, they were also on accord that Internet has brought about the advent of cybercrimes, which are now threatening the socio-economic landscape of people across the globe.

Speaking at the forum recently held at the Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, noted that within a short period of time, Internet had evolved from being a simple tool for accessing information and conducting communication and commerce to becoming a significant venue for social activity and interaction.

He, however, said that whilst this means better and more convenient services and a boost in the economy, it also creates a viable avenue for cyber attacks and criminal activities which could cripple or destabilise the national system. “As the world increasingly depends on technology and the cyberspace, especially increasing access to broadband for daily businesses, it gets more and more insecure.

Yearly, he said thousands of cybersecurity problems are identified in cyber space and technologies from known and unknown global actors leaving Internet users vulnerable.

Shittu said cybersecurity is more than a challenge for government as it poses a huge obstacle to the country’s digital transformation agenda in social and economy desired for the country, stressing, however, that the Federal Government has estimated an annual loss of over N127 billion to cybercrime activities in the nation, the minister said.

According to him, “Nigeria has had its fair share of cybercrimes between 2016 and 2017 alone, stressing that the recession in 2016 brought about numerous attacks targeted at organisations and individuals.” Noting the most recent targets in Nigeria were unsuspecting patronisers of ponzi schemes.

“In the wave of austerity, many people lost money to the said schemes carried out through cyber platforms and others fell victims to malicious and compromising websites.”

Indeed, in the electronic payment space, data from the Nigerian Inter-bank settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS) showed that in the first quarter of this year, over N374 million was lost to different cases of electronic frauds.

Meanwhile, Prof Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of NCC, explained while development of regulatory framework for broadband penetration, licensing of infrastructure service providers, issuance of wireless broadband licence and the offering of more wireless broadband frequency and services are part of the Commission’s efforts towards ensuring deepen broadband access, the Commission has been collaborating with necessary stakeholders in order to work together to also tackle rising wave of cybercrimes.

“For instance, the Commission, among others, is partnering with the ITU to establish in Nigeria a Regional Cybersecurity Centre (RCC) for Africa,” Danbatta said. ‘The centre, which will be sited in Abuja, will provide support in the area of technical manpower training, information sharing and other collaborative roles with local Computer Security Incidence Response Team (CESIRT).”

Also Convener of the forum, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, said as individuals get exposed to cyber crimes, “companies are also exposed to the risks in the course of interacting with their supply chain, partners and customers but all said and done, Mr, Olusola Teniola, president of the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said there was a need for government to create more enabling environment for service providers and collaborate with them more in order to sanitise the industry.

Mr. Kunle Adegoke, partner, M.A Banire & Associates, stressed the need for effective implementation of the Cyber Crime Act, 2015, saying “what we need is to be religious about the implementation and then not lose the sight of the fact that technology is always ahead of law and ‘so, the law must be subjected to periodic review and amendments in order to make it relevant at all time no matter the advancement in technology space.”

Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, who also made a presentation that in capturing the broadband demand in the country, there was a need to encourage last-mile transmission of humongous internet bandwidth seating in the shores of Lagos to the nooks and crannies of the country to ensure wider access to broadband services. “Also, other challenges relating to multiple taxation, multiple regulation, vandalism and denial of right of way (RoW) must be addressed,” she added.

In the same vein, Ms. Abimbola Alale, chief executive officer of NIGCOMSAT, disclosed that while her organisation has been collaborating to deploy satellite facilities and encourage their usage within the country, towards encouraging deeper broadband, “we are also working day and night o ensure that our broadband services are secure for Nigerians and beyond.”

Other stakeholders,  who spoke at the event, have emphasized that the fight against cybercrimes is currently beyond socio-political and economic exigencies, adding that as broadband access gets deeper, creating wider and unhindered access to high-speed internet, there is greater need to form strategic partnerships and collaborative alliances with stakeholders, agencies, organisations and jurisdictions with the objective of forming a common front to combat the menace of cybercrime in all its ramification and manifestations in the society.

Meanwhile, awardees at this year’s ADA leg of the event included Most Outstanding Telecoms Company of the Year which went to MTN Nigeria; Regulator of the Year was clinched by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Most Outstanding Government Agency of the Year grabbed by Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat Ltd.) and away ICT Woman of the Year won by the due Chief Executive Officers of NIGCOMSAT, Ms Abimbola Alale and Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke.

Also, the award jury rated Kunle Azeez of New Telegraph as Most Outstanding ICT Editor of the Year; former President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Engr. Bayo Banjo emerged as Broadcast Personality of the Year; Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, won Broadband Luminary Award;  Mr. Babatunde Mo’ Aguda emerged winner of Youth Innovative Award while Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu won Most Outstanding Online Editor of the Year.

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

Farmcrowdy Launches Mobile App for Agritech in Nigeria

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Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy

Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform has introduced a new category of funding small scale farming in Africa by allowing Nigerians to venture and sponsor agriculture; and launched of its first app for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

 

Techstars Atlanta alumnus, Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production, through using their online platform to source funds from sponsors, whose money is used to secure land, plant crops and meet the funding needs of boosting food production with small scale farmers. Farm Sponsors can expect to see returns after harvest of 6-25% between a 3-9 month period, depending on what farm type they choose.

 

Since the launch of its website 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy has recorded close to 1,000 unique farm sponsors, aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland in Nigeria for farming purpose and grown over 150,000 organic chickens to date.

 

Having worked with close to 2,000 small scale farmers in Nigeria already, the vast majority of Farmcrowdy sponsors are based in Nigeria, whilst 10% are located in the US and UK.

 

With another 6,000 Farm Followers visiting their website every week, the launch of the Farmcrowdy mobile app will provide a more accessible platform for agriculture enthusiasts to experience, learn and appreciate agriculture practice first-hand. Farmcrowdy currently provides regular updates, images and videos from the farmers as they work on the sponsored farms, providing an opportunity for their sponsors and farm followers to digitally track the journey of their sponsored farm through regular updates.

 

Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy said “We have launched the Farmcrowdy app to provide an accessible, real-time platform for people on the go, who do not want to miss out on empowering their own communities. In the past month alone, we have witnessed over 500 farm units of poultry – 25,000 chicks – sell out in a few hours to engage farmers who would have found it difficult accessing loans in the banks; so it’s super fast-paced. People are equally excited about creating impact in the lives of our farmers while earning a decent return. Nigeria is a mobile-first society and we had feedback from our sponsors who said they wanted improved access to our farms. They spoke, we listened, and we have now built a platform that suits Nigerians’ preferred means of doing business. – a mobile app. We expect that with this move, we would continue to stay at forefront of innovation in Agritech across Nigeria and scale our activities into more states in Nigeria while attracting more farm followers and sponsors to engage our farmers”.

 

“By effectively placing farms in the pockets of Nigerians globally, we are collectively impacting national food production and food security. This is our way of creating impact and return model for everyone sponsoring small scale farmers with Farmcrowdy”.

 

Currently operating in eight states across Nigeria, farm sponsors can choose to sponsor a variety of farm types including cassava, maize, rice, soya beans and poultry (broiler chickens for meat); with cycles lasting between 3 to 9 months depending on the farm. Farm sponsorships start from N96,000 [$270], and Farmcrowdy coordinates pre-arranged buyers to sell the farm harvest when the cycle is complete. The farm profit from the harvest is then split between the sponsors who receive 40% of the harvest profits plus their original sponsorship, while the farmers receive returns of 40% and Farmcrowdy gains 20% of the profits.

 

More than 80% of farmers in Nigeria operate on a small-scale level and it is currently estimated that 38 million of them are unbankable. Farmcrowdy, through pairing farmers with sponsors to effectively manage the farming cycle with training in smart farming techniques, supply of equipment and technical support, has over the last 12 months, ushered close to 2,000 small scale farmers into the financial ecosystem, making them financially inclusive.

 

The app, which is now available for download in Google Playstore, with Apple and Microsoft following suit soon, will through an accessible information feed and push notifications, allow users to view available farms, follow existing farms, provide ease of communication with farm account officers and allow the facilitation of easy feedback and comments.

 

Onyeka Akumah added, “This app provides a safe and reliable platform for agriculture enthusiasts to participate in this growing sector from a knowledge stand-point to making informed decisions about exploring opportunities in farming. So, we are looking forward to partnering with more Nigerians locally and globally as we continue to work towards building this community model for Nigerians to empower Nigerian farmers, produce Nigerian food and boost food production in the region while impacting positively on farmers lives and families. This kind of community model will be scaled into other regions as keep learning and improving our processes with the application of technology”.

 

 

 

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Nasarawa Adopts e-payment for Corps Members Payment

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The Nasarawa State Government is to use e-payment system to pay N5, 000 monthly allowance to corps members serving in government establishments in the state.

Mr Samuel Akala, the Special Adviser to Gov. Tanko Al-Makura on Youths, Students and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), disclosed this in Akwanga.

Akala said the new system was to address complaints by corps members on delay in payment of their monthly allowance.

He said that the state government had already commenced screening of corps members to ascertain their actual number in the state as a prelude for the introduction of the new payment system.

Akala said government would also collate data of banks and other details of corps members to ensure hitch- free take off of the scheme.

“Now, the governor discovered that payment of allowance to corps members has not been transparent.

“Some corps members keep complaining all the time that they have not been paid their allowance,’’ he said.

Akala said with the introduction of the new system, payment of corps members’ allowance would be centralised and made for easier.

He commended the governor for giving adequate attention to the welfare of corps members and urged them to reciprocate by dedicating themselves to their duties.

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NITDA to Blacklist MDAs not Running Website on .gov.ng

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said any government agency or ministry not running its website on Nigerian domain name, .gov.ng, will be blacklisted.

 

Dr Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami, NITDA director general in a statement made available in Abuja, added that most of the agencies still run their websites on generic top level domain (gTLD).

 

According to Dr Pantami, NITDA has observed the disregard to the use of .gov.ng domain in transaction of government business despite previous warning.

 

The DG said the agency would henceforth ensure strict compliance stressing that government business transactions should be carried out in the country’s code top level domain of the Nigerian government (ccTLD.ng)

 

However, for easy compliance, he said NITDA would henceforth approve request for .gov.ng within 24 hours, with the provision of special purpose phone numbers coupled with regular evaluation of agencies sites.

 

He said: “Furthermore, .gov.ng domain names are free with no rental or renewal cost attached. We therefore call on all MDAs and service providers to support government on the scale on the scale of ease of doing business.” (Daily Trust)

 

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