By: Tony Nwakaegho Monday, 16 Nov 2015 09:10PM Interviews, Tech
Onajite Regha is the Executive Secretary/CEO E-payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN). She spoke to Tony Nwakaegho in this exclusive interview during the just concluded 6th Annual Payment Systems and Fraud Conference 2015 in Lagos. Excerpts:
What is this conference all about?
This is the 6th Annual Payment Systems and Fraud Conference 2015. The Payment System and Fraud Conference is designed to be a one stop shop of payment system and fraud knowledge in West Africa with limitless business opportunities. This event will bring together top officials, technology leaders, the entire financial sector, payment solution providers with a wide variety of expertise in international fraud prevention, deterrence and detection to focus on current and future trends affecting security and fraud. This is a conference that we hold annually and the focus has always been on electronic payment fraud. We are talking about the payment system and the fraud that exist within it. We come in together as stakeholders, as one big family to see how we can address the issue of fraud, how we can prevent fraud, what we can do to detect it and what we can do to prosecute it. This forum provides a platform for all stake holders. If you look at the programme today we have the judiciary, CBN, Bankers, law enforcement agencies, merchants, regulators, operators of the payment system and ordinary consumers on the street. So what we are trying to do is to create a fulcrum for everyone to come together and discuss the issue from different perspective. I am happy to let you know that when we finish from here we will try to implement some of the things that we have seen. Today we have the Electronics Fraud Forum. We discussed this here about four five years ago. It is the forum where the operators can meet and discuss the challenges and come up with solutions. Today we talked so much as to setting up an institution that is going to be 100 % focused on electronic payment fraud and electronic payment risk challenges. And I was very happy when the Director of CBN, said that before this time next year most of our recommendations from the conference will be implemented. That is the purpose of this kind of event, to jump start fence, to brain storm through ideas and at the end of the day to the benefit of our country.
In this event we actually looked at the role of collaboration. What does E-PPAN seek to achieve as regard exploring alliances for the sake of the industry?
We seek to achieve a safer payment space. You find out that fraud is not a time for competition as they have said throughout the conference, but I have also found out that the fight against fraud is not something you can do as an individual, you cannot take it on solo bases, so you have to collaborate to win. That is the major lesson that we are pushing. We have always pushed this view for more than five years now. I can see things are already happening based on what we are doing at the conference. From our conference of four years ago we talked of having an industry forum where people can meet on regular bases. I am happy to let you know that we now have a Nigerian Electronic Fraud Forum (NEFF) chaired by the central bank and we meet on quarterly bases to review trends and strategies and a lot of good things have come out of NEFF and the industry is benefiting from it. The Nigeria interbank settlement system has put in place a soft ware that can help to detect fraud, prevent fraud and that is an industry approach. So what we need to do is to strengthen the collaborative effort of the industry. And we are not just going to do it; we need to bring in other stake holders. I am happy to let you know that today’s event we had the judiciary, law enforcement represented. We have lawyers, bankers, payment providers, operators, everybody was here in this event and that will show you that we are really considering and taking this thing very seriously.
The consumers often times are at the hitting end of fraud. What is your take on how much the consumers need to know to protect them not to become victims?
There is a lot of consumers’ education going on now, but I think we still need to do more. Because most of the times with common sense we can actually prevent some of this fraudulent attacks on us. But if you do not know you don’t know and there is nothing anybody can do about it. But as a consumer it’s our right to find out what is this product that my bank is giving to me. You don’t just take it and begin to use it. You have to find out most times from the little print and if you cannot read them and understand them, then do not use it. You have to demand from your provider an explanation of what they are giving to you. Then you have to be comfortable before you start trying it. And if you have any issue don’t just resign to faith, or say well it’s my luck I wouldn’t use it again. No, demand for your right. Press for what belong to you and I am sure at the end we will be happier to have an electronic payment system.
From the past E-PPAN forum, what are some of those recommendations that have been implemented?
I just mentioned Nigerian Electronics Fraud Forum now. The thing is, that there several forums that happen in the industry. You will find that most of them re-enforces each other. In this conference last year we said that we need to have a relationship with the police and judiciary. In collaboration with the Nigerian Electronics Fraud Forum we have visited the police and you heard the Director say today that the Inspector General of Police has promised that they are going to get a dedicated team of police men for electronic payment. We have also visited the Chief Justice of Nigeria and we had prayers made across to him under the auspices of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Electronics Fraud Forum, So when we discuss issues like this we don’t let it die here, so we take it to other forums that we belong to, raise the issue, escalate it and from this forum we have said let there be consumers awareness and educational programme. All these have been running from what we do from this kind of forum. The major thing today emphasized is to institutionalize not just collaboration and personal relationship business bases. So we have emphasized institutionalised collaboration today. I was happy when I heard the Director say that before this time next year we will have an institution that takes care of electronic fraud.
How do all these efforts transcend to the grass root?
Everybody is keying into electronic payment now, either they are doing mobile payment, electronic pulse. Everybody is keying at one level or the order of electronic payment. So the onus is on the providers or the operators to ensure the system is safe enough for them and all these things we are doing is because of the consumer, so that tomorrow they do not lose their money. If it happens, we know what to do. We have put in systems that protect them. The head of Consumers Protection Council (CPC) in Lagos was here and so if somebody goes to the CPC and complain, he will know this is in place and that is in place and know what to do. It always boils down to the consumers. It is a safer electronic payment system that is a complete benefit to the last man on the mile and the entire nation.
source : Daily times