" ITREALMS: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

SIM Card fine: NCC confirms receipt of N50bn ‘good faith’ deposit from MTN

The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has acknowledged the receipt of the sum of N50,000,000,000 (Fifty Billion Naira Only), towards the settlement of the fine imposed on MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd by the Commission, reports ITRealms.

The Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo informed ITRealms that this was also in line with MTN law suit No FHC/1923/2015 – MTN Vs. NCC & HAGF which has since been withdrawn and was received as ‘good faith’ deposit.

He also told ITRealms that the official information to the Commission to that effect, was received from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, today, 29th February, 2016.

“The amount is an unconditional good faith payment, on the basis that this sum would be applied towards eventual settlement agreement for payment of the fine imposed by the Commission, where the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and the company, reaches a final resolution,” he explained.

Ojobo also said that the Federal Government’s team for the negotiations is being led by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), while MTN team is led by former U.S Attorney General, and Head of Covington & Burling LLP, Washington DC, Mr Eric H. Holder, Jr.

The receipt of the amount and withdrawal of the suit, he said, is without prejudice to the final decision of government on the terms of payment being proposed by the company.

On the basis of out of court settlement, Ojobo emphasized that the Federal Government team, is expected to deliberate on the merits and demerits of the terms of payment of the fine imposed on MTN by the Commission for its failure to deactivate invalid SIM Cards as directed by the Commission, thereby contravening the provisions of the regulation on SIM Card Registration.

Chuks Egbuna/GEE

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23.5m Nigerians on BVN – Ajao


An estimated 23.5 million out of the 180 million population of Nigeria have been covered within the Bank Verification Number (BVN), a biometric data collection by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in liaison with the banks, reports ITRealms.
The Executive Director, Information Technology, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, Mr. Niyi Ajao, made this disclosure at the weekend in Lagos, while delivering a keynote on behalf of his Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ade Shonubi, at the 7th Presidential Dinner hosted by the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON).

He said there is a lot of work needed to be done on the BVN as it current fail short of the Nigerian banking public.

Speaking on what has been described as quiet revolution percolating within NIBSS with strategic focus on indigenous software firms that deliver value and create wealth, Mr. Ajao said the reality of things is that the hard economic disposition of the country has forced them to truly look inwards seriously.

He cited an instance with the servicing of Service License Agreeement (SLA) of some of the software they had hitherto procured abroad, saying they have since discovered that no bank was willing to source such huge sums of United States Dollars due to new guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

And in order to remain in business, they have no other choice than to look seriously inwards to develop stage by stage their software requirements by way of creating today, various avenues including contest for local software developers.

“We rely much now on self-developed indigenous software,” he revealed.

ITRealms recalls that ISPON is the industry professional body for indigenous software developers and practitioners in Nigeria, founded in 1999 with the aim of ceating an enabling environment for local content developers to thrive locally and internationally.

Whereas NIBSS was set up by the Bankers Committee resolution of 1992, as a Banking Industry Shared-Service, to help streamline inter-bank payments and settlement mechanisms, and to promote electronic payments in Nigeria. 

Incorporated in April 1993, NIBSS commenced operations on 13th June 1994, hence it is owned by all licensed banks and discount houses in Nigeria, in addition to the Central Bank of Nigeria, whose representative on NIBSS board assumes chairmanship.

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CFA, Chioma Chuka, 98 others honour @YTech 2916

A total of 100 young most innovative tech personalities in Nigeria were honoured at the #YTech100 event held on February 25, 2016, as sideline event for the Social Media Week, reports ITRealms.

The list of awardees comprise Olumide Ogunlana, the Founder of Prepclass.com.ng, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, presenter of Tech Trends on Channels Television and Founder of Techsmart.ng, Kingsley Ezeani, the Founder at Information Nigeria, Chioma Chuka, VP at Red Digital and Busayo Longe, Co-Founder at Form+ as well as 95 other young tech innovators in Nigeria.

Correspondent reports that the MD of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, delivered a keynote address on the “Globalization: From Local Champions To Unicorns.”

Earlier, a panel discussion had Honorable Olufemi Odubiyi, Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Segun Agbaje, the MD of GTbank, Mr. Mitchell Alegbe, the MD of Interswitch, Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi, the ED of W.Tec and Emeka Azuka Okoye, Co-Founder of Next2, with Chioma Chuka, VP at Red Digital anchoring. 

Discussants agreed that Nigerian small businesses, especially techies, should think big, start small, scale fast, in order to survive and thrive globally.

The second panel discussion, ITRealms gathered had Mr. Kingsley Ezeani, Founder at Information Nigeria, Olumide Ogunlana, of prepclass.com.ng and Busayo Longer, Co-Founder at Form+.

ITRealms recalls that the #YTech100 is an annual cocktail and networking event hosted by Y!/YNaija.com in partnership with GTBank at Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Nonye Dom/GEE

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nigerian banks must imbibe new ethos by engaging local content – ISPON president, Okigbo Jnr

The President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Chief Pius Okigbo Jnr, has called on Nigerians to imbibe a new ethos by engaging local content, especially by patronizing locally made software by the financial sector, reports ITRealms. 
Okigbo gave this charge at the 7th edition of the ISPON President’s Dinner speech, which held in Lagos at the weekend, where they raise advocacy issues of concern to the association and software community at large.

He said that Nigerians, moreso those playing in the financial sectors, must imbibe new ethos for local content, harping on the need to believe in oneself and abilities, whereas ISPON, Okigbo said must hold supreme the core principles of quality, integrity and knowledge to enable a merger of trust of the producers and of the consumers.

“No one can do it for us. Not the Chinese, not the Indians, and certainly not any other country,” he declared, stressing that if anything at all, they seek to exploit the industry’s weakness.

He described as a significant weakness where practitioners like members of ISPON could not pull together a large pool of talents to deliver quality software products and services without tearing themselves apart.

“If our software businesses are not engaged, the industry will not grow,” he asserted, maintaining that they cannot employ and create wealth without local patronage, saying that everything to jump start the software industry is in place, but require clear and deliberate policy.

Presently, he said that Nigeria’s economy is in a state where local content of everything will take centre stage, because Nigerians are being forced to think local and act local.

He bemoaned the fact that till date, no Nigerian firm has been able to set up shop in Indian, China, Malaysia or even England or any other country for that matter, bid for a job successfully and win. While in Nigeria, Okigbo said, the reverse is the case as firms from the aforementioned countries even brag about their prowess and exhibit their utter disdain for local firms.

This attitude, ISPON president insist, must stop for the nation's economy to have a rebirth.

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Cyber expert condemns another biometric data collection by FRCN

An erudite cyber security expert has condemned the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) effort at collecting yet another round of biometric data as part of its compliance process, which raises a national security question, reports ITRealms.

Chairman of the Abuja-based Consultancy Support Services Limited (CSSL), Alhaji Abdul-Kareem Ajijola, expressed his dismay over the FRCN compliance process at the weekend to ITRealms, saying he has lost count of number of government agencies collecting biometrics of Nigerians without recourse to the previously collected data.

Ajijiola lamented that on knowing that FRCN demands biometrics, especially for the small business owners, he was peeved by these continuous demands for bio-metric registration, payment of fees and essentially duplicate documentation by a plethora of government bodies discourages business.
According to him, there are far too many government agencies collecting citizens’ biometrics in Nigeria, stressing that the objective of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria in this regard could be better achieved via the existing Bank Verification Number (BVN) system, of which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a statutory member of the Council.

“Interestingly, the FRCN website as at 25 Feb 2016, is compromised with Phishing links as reported by Kaspersky Ant-virus. What confidence can we then have in the FRCN biometric database,” he decried, wondering where the database is hosted.

Ajijola also wondered if the database host met the globally certifiable standards, given the state of FRCN website, which was part of what the public could see, “then, there is cause for significant concern.”
He pointed out that FRCN could achieve its biometric objective more cost-effectively by leveraging existing secure biometric databases such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and BVN to name a few.

Biometric collections, he told ITRealms, are a significant waste of limited national resources, abuse of citizens’ time and raises a serious national security concerns, recalling that in the recent past Nigerians have lost count of number of biometric data collection by the agents of the Federal Government.

Some of these agencies, he listed to include NIMC, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cum Nigerian banks via Bank Verification Number (BVN), telecommunication operators and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Police, and Federal Government Human Resources system.

In addition, Ajijola said that even some state governments have embarked on biometric data collection of the workforce and even residents in their domains, while some large corporations engage same, for the employees and several embassies in the country.

He emphasized that noteworthy of biometric data collections is that human beings cannot change or reset their fingerprints once one of the multiple biometric databases are compromised. 

Pointing out that should those biometric databases be hosted outside Nigeria, then that host country has primary jurisdiction and could restrict FRCN or any other government agencies, access to it as that firm or nation deems fit, as well as provide such information to its own National Security establishment given that most nations now have their own data retention laws.

The cyber expert further lamented that there was a recent case of an agency that hosted it's biometric database in the United States of America (USA) and all the staff data and finger prints were hacked and even downloaded.

“We need to consider privacy. Waste of FOREX if you imagine all the computers, connectivity and expertise required,” Ajijola advised. 

He, therefore, urged the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other similar ‘regulatory’ bodies to desist from collecting the biometrics of Nigerians, but rather, if they must, cost-effectively use existing, credible and government sanctioned biometric databases in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 
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