N127 billion lost annually to Internet fraud – NCC

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Nigeria is losing over N127bn yearly to cases of Internet frauds across all sectors of the economy, the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has said.

This, stated in a document he made available to our correspondent on Friday, adding that majority of the frauds were perpetrated on foreign domain names and had become popular among Nigeria’s over 93 million Internet users.

Sequel to the development, he said that the Nigerian Internet Registration Association had finally begun taking concrete steps to protect Internet users as it commenced investigations into 30 complaints arising from .ng domain names abuse.

Our correspondent learnt that the investigation was being carried out by NiRA in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The development, it was gathered, followed NiRA’s decision to deal with the abuse within the Internet ecosystem by creating a desk for dealing with Internet abuse within the .ng ecosystem.

“Nigerians have responded positively with varied tales based on the complaints received, and NiRA has commenced investigations into those cases within its purview,” the NiRA President, Mr. Sunday Folayan, said.

As part of its efforts to arrest the situation, NiRA recently convened a meeting of representatives of relevant law enforcement agencies and stakeholders on the need to collaborate.

Agencies represented were the NPF through the Lagos State Police Command, the EFCC, Special Fraud Unit, ngCERT and the Central Bank of Nigeria, among others.

At the inaugural meeting, Folayan had highlighted the high rate at which crimes were becoming engrained in the national life, using .ng domain names.

He reported that NiRA had received over 300 complaints on issues of Internet abuse, ranging from domain name abuses to theft of individual personal details and financial fraud.

“Participants reviewed the Internal procedural process developed in-house by NiRA to deal with the incidence of abuses, taking note of the areas of cooperation and collaboration with the various agencies present.

“It was a huge success as the law enforcement agencies expressed their willingness to collaborate to tackle the identified abuse in the Internet ecosystem and protect Nigerians. Henceforth, the group will meet quarterly, having identified other stakeholders whose involvement is crucial to the success of the programme,” Folayan said.

The .ng is Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain Name, which is managed by NiRA, a not-for profit registry organisation established by the National Information Technology Development Agency.

NiRA, over the years, has been embarking on various initiatives aimed at populating the use of .ng domain names, as against the penchant among Nigerian Internet users for foreign domain names such as .com, .uk and .net.

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