SIM Card Fraud: Banks, Telecom Operators Risk Losing Customers, Says Lawmaker


Commercial banks and telecommunications companies risk losing customers over the fear of falling victims to SIM card fraud unless a drastic remedy is enforced to curb the menace in the country.

This was the resolution at the opening of the 3-day investigative public hearing held by the Ad-Hoc Committee investigating ‘incidents of SIM Swap fraud’, chaired by Honourable Abubakar Fulata.

Honourable Fulata who chairs the committee feared that the banking sector, in particular, will collapse if nothing serious is done about the matter.

“Imagine a situation you are just seated and you see an alert wiping out your account completely, your money disappears and then you are asking me to take my money to the bank, who will take his money to the bank? Nobody.”

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“I’d rather keep it and hold a machete in my house, let the armed robber come, it’s either I get killed or he gets killed,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, head of cybercrime unit of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Sa’ad Abubakar explained that the criminals strategically carry out the action over the weekend, with the knowledge that banking operations are not carried out to halt their acts.

“These criminals normally carry out sim swap process over the weekend, such that by Saturday, they would have gained access to the victims’ account and transferred their income to different bank account knowing well that banks are closed at the weekend.”

Stressing, Deputy Commandant-General, of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Aminu Abdullahi, suggested that a synchronized data bank station should be created for prompt action to curb the menace.

“I suggest that we establish a synchronized data bank station between NSCDC and other stakeholders like bank and NCC whereby an alert on sim swap in progress can be checkmated promptly.”

He asked that collaboration between NSCDC and Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) be established in a bid to profile staff and vendors engaged by banks and telecom operators with the view to track perpetrators of the heinous crime.

The security experts also recommend that telecom providers should adhere strictly to the guidelines of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) on SIM card replacement and also advised network providers to request for additional requirements for replacing sim cards such as a person’s National Identity Number as this would curb sim swap fraud.

Reps Hold Public Hearing On Dormant Accounts

House Holds Public Hearing On Dormant AccountsThe House of Representative Committee on Banking and Currency has opened a public hearing on how to address dormant accounts in commercial banks.

The Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Jones Onyerere, said the amendment of the Financial Institution Act would help address the use of funds from dormant accounts as income for commercial banks.

The hearing session, which took place on Monday in Abuja, had in attendance representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) among others.

In their various remarks, the CBN official, Kofo Abdulsalam-Alada, and the NDIC Director of Legal Services, Belema Taribo, suggested how to manage dormant accounts.

However, government agencies disagreed on who should manage the funds from dormant accounts.

Recent statistics from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System reveal that the total number of inactive bank accounts in Nigeria stands at 30.2 million, despite efforts by banks to retain old customers and attract new ones.

About 64.128 million accounts that represent 68.7% of the total activated accounts domiciled in commercial banks are said to be functional.

Financial experts have described amendment of the Financial Institution Act to better manage dormant accounts as timely.

The passage of the bill is expected to eliminate the possibility of banks to convert dormant account balances into income, as well as strengthen risk management.

Nigerian Banks Publish List Of Debtors

Nigerian Banks Publish List Of DebtorsCommercial banks have resumed publishing the lists of delinquent debtors including individuals and companies in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directives.

Last year, the CBN ordered banks to publish a list of debtors that failed to meet the deadline in at least three national newspapers each quarter effective from may the 1st 2015.

Delinquent borrowers are expected to get three months to start repayment, while borrowers whose loans remain non-performing after that period will be banned from Nigeria’s foreign-exchange and government bond markets.

Reps Raise Concern On ATM Charges

Banking, ATM, ATM charges, BVN, House of Reps,
Nigerians at an ATM

The House of Representatives, on Thursday mandated its committee on banking and currency to investigate the illegal and indiscriminate automated teller machines charges by commercial banks in the country.

Speaking on the motion which was supported by most lawmakers, the House observed that the banks are not complying with the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria on ATM withdrawals.

The lawmakers also wondered why banks are not being penalised and sanctioned for these illegal practices.

The committee is expected to report back to House in four weeks.

Nigeria’s Forex Reserve Rises By $40 million       

Forex ReservesNigeria’s forex reserve rose by 40 million dollars in March on a 30-day moving average basis to 27.9 billion dollars.

This is on the back of oil price climb to 40 dollars a barrel.

In an analyst note released on Tuesday by the investment bank FBN Quest, the modest increase in the reserve was also attributed to the government’s plugging of leakages in revenue and finances.

During the month under review, Central Bank’s foreign currency sales remain unchanged at 200 million per week to commercial banks while importers were also surveyed to have cut back on orders, adopting a realistic position on forex supply at the Central Bank.

Robbers Raid Commercial Banks In Ogolonto, Ikorodu

ikoroduAn Armed Robbery attack occurred this morning on Ebute Road, Ogolonto bus-stop in Ikorodu, Lagos State.

An eyewitness who spoke to Channels Television during the News said she saw at least four men who were not wearing masks loading money into a Sienna van on the road as the robbery was going on, where commercial banks are located.

Gunshots were ongoing while she was giving her account to Channels Television, meanwhile police have arrived at the scene.

On Twitter, the Nigeria Police Force said officers have responded to robbery saying:

CBN Raises Concerns Over Economy’s Partial Dollarisation

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has raised concerns over the partial dollarisation of the nation’s currency and called on commercial banks in the country to take appropriate measures to check the trend.

Responding to questions from reporters after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, Mr Emefiele said that the apex bank may also be left with no option than to clamp down on the activities of Nigerians who insist on doing transactions with foreign currencies.

He, however, expressed optimism that the naira would rebound after the elections.

Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee meeting left the interest rate unchanged at 13% while ‎liquidity ratio was pegged at 30%.

Gunmen Attack Commercial Banks in Kaduna

Gunmen suspected to be armed robbers on Sunday night stormed Makarfi Local Government area of Kaduna state with explosives and attacked some commercial banks.

Eyewitnesses said the gunmen numbering over twenty had engaged security operatives who moved in to counter the robbery operation in a gun battle throughout last night till early this morning.

There were also sounds of explosions within the town, a situation that heightened tension in the community.

Makarfi shares boundaries with Kano state and is the home town of former Kaduna state governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Although the Kaduna police command is yet to confirm the incident as the commissioner of police, Olufemi Adenaike could not answer calls from Channels TV correspondent. The state governor, Muktar Ramalan Yero was on his way to the area as at the time of filing this report.



Union Bank posts N122 billion 2011 loss

Union Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday posted a 2011 pre-tax loss of N122 billion ($750 million), compared with a profit of N36.5 billion a year ago, it said in a filing with the stock exchange, giving no reason for the loss.

Gross earnings at the lender fell 38 percent to N80.7 billion, it said, while net assets recovered to N196 billion during the period, from a loss of N115.8 billion last year.

A large chunk of the losses are likely to be due to write downs of bad debts left over from a 2008/9 banking crisis.

Shares in the lender shed 4.35 percent to N3.72 on the news, almost the maximum 5 percent swing allowed, and underperforming the broader index, which gained 0.55 percent to hit 21,690 points.

Union Bank last year sold a 60 percent stake in itself to a group of institutional investors led by African Capital Alliance private equity for $750 million to help it recapitalise.

It was one of nine lenders that the central bank bailed out to the tune of $4 billion in 2009, after it judged they were dangerously undercapitalised.

Rating agency ask Nigeria banks to improve on risk management

Standard and Poor’s ratings services says Nigeria’s banking system needs a longer regulatory track record before they can stop considering corporate governance and regulatory oversight to be among its key risks.

This was contained in a statement released on Wednesday by the rating agency titled – Strong Regulatory Action Proves Its Worth For The Nigerian Banking System.

The agency said that after more than two years of Central Bank support, “Nigeria now has fewer, but larger, banks, with better corporate governance and regulatory oversight.

“In Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ view, however, the sector needs a longer regulatory track record before we stop considering corporate governance and regulatory oversight to be among its key risks.

The agency acknowledged that though there have been remarkable improvements in the Nigeria Banking systems as “fewer, larger institutions have emerged following a succession of mergers triggered by the sharp rise in NPLs, risk management–particularly in higher-risk lending such as foreign currency loans and retail–and access to low-cost funding will be the key differentiators affecting banks’ performance going forward.”

According to the ratings agency, long-term success for Nigerian banks will chiefly depend on the lenders enhancing their risk management, improving their governance, diversifying their loan portfolios, and securing their funding profiles.

In 2009, eight of the country’s 24 banks had to be rescued after weak risk management and corporate governance lapses caused nonperforming loans to rise to more than a third of total loans across the banking system.

Meanwhile the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is expected to begin sales of the three nationalized banks – Mainstreet bank, Enterprise bank and Keystone bank.