The banking industry and bank customers have lost N4bn to electronic frauds from the time the authorities began tracking the incidence and now, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said.
The Deputy Governor, CBN, Mr. Suleiman Barau, said this when he led members of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum on a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police Force, Mr. Solomon Arase, in Abuja on Tuesday.
To curtail the problem, the central bank and the Nigeria Police have agreed to set up a working group that will collaborate to nip electronic frauds in the bud.
Arase also made a commitment to establish a dedicated payment and card crime unit in the Nigeria Police at the request of the CBN.
Barau said no one single institution could defeat fraud, adding that significant exposure existed by operating in isolation.
He said, “This forum (the NEFF) recognises the role of our law enforcement agencies as strategic partners in stemming e-frauds; therefore, we are here to further advance this strategic intent of collaboration.
“Today, with the enactment into law of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015, offences are now clearly outlined and it has thus become imperative for us to build the investigative capacity of our law enforcement agencies, especially the Nigeria Police.”
He added, “The activities of this forum have helped bridge the gaps by fostering and cementing collaboration not just among the banks, but also other players in the payment industry, law enforcement, consumer protection agencies, and of course, the judiciary.
“Today, it is a threat not only to individuals and corporate organisations, but also to the entire nation. Its cost implication can be measured through not only economic but also social impacts, as it is evident today. That industry losses have grown to over N4bn buttresses the fact that e-fraud has become an industry of its own.”
Barau said the banking industry had expected an increase in the electronic fraud with the introduction of the cashless policy by the central bank, and that informed the inauguration of the Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum to stem the scourge.
He added that although N4bn was huge, it was little when compared to the volume of electronic transactions that had taken place within the period of time that the frauds had been tracked.
Speaking at the forum, Arase acceded to the request of the CBN to introduce a new unit to be dedicated to payment and card crimes.
He said although the Police already had an electronic fraud unit in Lagos, the new unit would be established to work within the larger electronic fraud unit.
Arase said collaboration with the CBN was very important in building the capacity of the Police officers in charge of electronic frauds.
According to him, collaboration with the CBN in the past had led to improvement in the equipment available to the force as well as the capacity of the security agency to fight crimes.