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Tim Akano, CEO New Horizons Urges INEC to Carry Out Stress Test on BVAS Before Election

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In order to ensure that there is stronger security protection for data transmission before the February 25th, 2023, general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been advised by Mr. Tim Akano, the Chief Executive Officer of New Horizons Nigeria,  to conduct a stress test on Data-in-Motion or in Transit on Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), before the election proper.

Speaking on a topic themed “understanding privacy and online risk in the digital world today,” to mark this year’s World Data Privacy Day, organized by the Data and Knowledge Privacy Protection Initiative.

And February 25th, 2023 general election will be the first time in the history of the country that live data will be used to determine who will be the next president of the country.

According to Akano, the inferno that can burn us as a country is the use of live data that is vulnerable to attack, noting it is in the best interest of INEC in particular and Nigeria, in general, to pay more than casual attention to what we call the man in the middle attack, which hackers can exploit to intercept, modify, or retransmit election data while in motion or in transit.

He continued: “there is nothing more important in Nigeria today than the success of the February election, and we are a country of about 222 million, and nothing must go wrong because entire West African coast, from Benin Republic to Togo to Ghana, does not have the infrastructure to sustain us.”

Akano pointing out instances where conflicting results in other countries had lead to untold bloodbath, said between 2007 and 2008, Kenya witnessed an untold bloodbath arising from conflicting election results. In 2010 and 2011, Mr. Devil himself took over the affairs of Ivory Coast when conflicting election results were announced.

In 2016, Russia was alleged to have influenced the American presidential elections through technology, and in the recent Osun governorship Tribunal judgment, three types of BVAS results on the same election were alleged to have been tendered and this should not because Maths is exact, absolute.

According to the 2022 Securonix Threat. The report, reveals that insiders were involved in 57 per cent of data breaches and there are new technological solutions to this if INEC cares to prevent that.

While commending INEC for the end-to-end encryption they have done for the technology, however, call on INEC Chairman  on the need to urgently to talk to some Nigerian Cyber security practitioners and appoint some devil’s advocate who will conduct a stress test on BVAS DIM (Data- in- Motion) before the wholesale adoption on February 25th, saying it is common practice for big companies such as Microsoft and Oracle to carry out test on new develop software by  calling on strong hackers to test it and see if they can hack into it easily, and if they can, then they go back to their lab to ensure they work on it.

Akano, going forward, advised INEC to carry out an upgrade after the election to ensure that the issue of overvoting does not arise from BVAS by building in a technology that uses artificial intelligence (AI) which will alert you when overvoting arises from the pooling unit.


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AfriLabs, Korea-Africa Foundation in Strategic Partnership to Boost African Innovation

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African hubs network AfriLabs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea-Africa Foundation for a strategic partnership aimed at driving innovation and economic growth across the continent.

AfriLabs is a network organisation that is committed to driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent by bringing together technology hubs, startups, investors, and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Having recently announced the admission of 16 new hubs, AfriLabs now has a network of 478 hubs across 260 cities in 53 African nations.

The Korea-Africa Foundation, meanwhile, aims to serve as a platform for collaboration between the private and public sectors, and to strengthen exchange and cooperation with African countries.

The collaboration between the two aims to bridge the gap between Korean and African startups by leveraging each other’s expertise and resources. This will be achieved through the exchange of insights on youth development, the launch of joint research initiatives, and the fostering of a dynamic ecosystem that cultivates talent and entrepreneurial spirit in both regions.

“At AfriLabs, we are dedicated to unlocking Africa’s full potential and generating wealth through strategic alliances. This partnership with the Korea-Africa Foundation unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities for startups, granting them access to a global network, invaluable resources, and unparalleled industry knowledge.

“Together, we will empower the next generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs, paving the way for sustainable development and a thriving economy,” said Anna Ekeledo, executive director of AfriLabs.


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$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

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Federal government may reintroduce the controversial telecom tax and other fiscal measures to fulfill one of the conditions for The World Bank’s fresh $750 million loan to Nigeria.

$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

Experts have however strongly opposed new taxes, calling them harmful to the sector’s survival and the larger economy.

But The World Bank in programme appraisal document, dated May 17, 2024, on the loan disbursement to Nigeria, said that $750 million loan to Nigeria will support the federal government’s policy reforms.

A copy of the plan’s document posted on the World Bank website indicated that the government might reintroduce the excises on telecom services, and EMT levy on electronic money transfers through the Nigerian Banking System among other taxes.

Recall that on June 13, Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, announced the approval of two financial support packages by the World Bank valued at $2.25 billion.

The loan consists of $1.5 billion for Nigeria’s reforms for economic stabilisation to enable transformation (RESET) development policy financing program (DPF) and $750 million for Nigeria’s accelerating resource mobilisation reforms (ARMOR) program-for-results (PforR).

In the programme appraisal document, the World Bank said the ARMOR programme contains revenue policy measures such as raising pro-health taxes on tobacco, and alcohol.

The Bretton Woods institution also said the programme contains the introduction of taxes on online betting and gambling, as well as new excise on telecommunication services.

Experts have however warned that these taxes would have severe consequences for investment and the operational viability of telecom companies.

According to them, higher taxes would hinder digitalization efforts, which are crucial for economic growth.

The proposed tax measures, according to the industry, are not only damaging to the telecom sector but also to the broader economy.

 

 


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EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Flutterwave, unicorn payments technology company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to establish and a state-of-the-art Cybercrime Research Centre.

EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, policy development, as well as youth empowerment.

The fintech company with fortunes worth over $1bn headquartered in San Francisco with footprints in Nigeria and other African countries said the centre would also provide a “sustainable lifeline to youths across the country”.

To this effect, the Silicon Valley-based company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the anti-graft agency in Abuja.

Ola Olukoyede, chairman, EFCC; Olugbenga Agboola, founder, Flutterwave; Christopher Gray, director of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and other senior officials from both the EFCC and the FBI witnessed the signing of the MoU

Specifically, the MoU was signed by Mohammadu Hammajoda, secretary, EFCC and Agboolaof Flutterwave.

Olukoyede said, “This partnership marks a significant leap forward in our efforts to combat financial crimes and ensure a secure financial landscape for Nigerians. The Cybercrime Research Centre will significantly enhance our capabilities to prevent, detect, and prosecute financial crimes.”

On his part, Agboola said, “This initiative underscores our commitment to creating a fraud-free financial ecosystem and leading the charge in safeguarding transactions across Africa.

“We applaud the EFCC’s relentless efforts to combat internet fraud and other illicit activities in the financial sector.”

The Cybercrime Research Centre, to be established at the new EFCC Academy in Abuja, would serve as a hub for advanced research, training, and capacity building in the fight against financial crimes.

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, collaborative research and policy development, youth empowerment and capacity building, technological advancement and resource enablement, among other key areas.

“Advanced Fraud Detection and Prevention: Developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies to detect and prevent financial fraud. The centre will offer comprehensive training for law enforcement and industry professionals to combat modern financial crimes effectively.

“Collaborative Research and Policy Development: Engaging in joint research initiatives and policy formulation to enhance the understanding and regulation of financial crime. The centre will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between the public and private sectors.

“Youth Empowerment and Capacity Building: Providing high-end training and research opportunities for 500 youths, equipping them with the skills needed to navigate and excel in the digital economy.

“Technological Advancement and Resource Enablement: Creating a repository of advanced tools, technologies, and resources to support financial crime investigations, including protocols for addressing emerging threats such as cryptocurrency-related crimes,” the statement concluded.

Birthed in 2016 by Agboola, fondly referred to as GB, Flutterwave, with its corporate headquarters in San Francisco and operational head office in Lagos State, grew within a short time, penetrating the African market with customisable payments applications through its unique Application Programming Interface.

 

 


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