Babatunde Ajiboye is the Secretary to the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF). Ajiboye spoke to E-Payment Review about his insights on the payments industry, concerns over payment security and best practices for smart growth in the realm of payments.
Give us a description of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum. What is it, exactly? The Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) is a payments industry initiative to enable information exchange and knowledge sharing on fraud issues amongst key stakeholders, with the objective of ensuring a collaborative and proactive approach to mitigating fraud and limiting occurrences and losses. NeFF also serves as an official body to represent the industry’s position on fraud related issues, while proffering solutions that restore public confidence on card usage and electronic payments in general.
Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today? I started out as a finance and management accountant in the first and only (at the time) indigenous can manufacturing plant in Nigeria – Atobi Metal and Paper Industries in Ibadan. I left in 2004 to join the First City Group, working in the domestic operations office of the First City Monument Bank. After the first banking consolidation in 2006, I transferred my services to the defunct Oceanic Bank working in the e-business operations unit. This unit exposed me to the nascent developments in our payments system especially from an operational angle; I became very much aware of the strategies behind e-payment products, their challenges and critical success factors. This placed me in good stead to appreciate from a regulator’s perspective steps needed in transforming Nigeria’s retail payments system from cash-based to the use of alternative payments channels and cost containment in major OPEX heads of banks in Nigeria.
What’s the most challenging aspect of what you do, and what’s the most rewarding? Trying to convince people to change from using cash predominantly for their transactions has been a challenge. As you must be aware, behavioral change is the most difficult to effect and journeying across Nigeria, I see that the people are very much at home with cash. Even though we have achieved some successes in the adoption of alternative payment channels by Nigerians, I believe we still have capacity for much more. On the contrary, the fight against electronic fraud through the instrumentality of the Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) has been very fruitful. The forum has grown not just in number, but also in relevance. We have been able to intervene through the Central Bank of Nigeria by releasing circulars that have reduced fraud occasioned by insider abuses, card not present fraud in non-EMV environments and speed in the submission and treatment of fraud claims through the establishment of industry fraud desks. The forum has also established strategic partnership with the Nigerian judiciary and police, which will further change positively the e-fraud out- look in Nigeria.
Who had the most influence in your life and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership? My first employer, late High Chief Bayo Akinnola had a profound
effect on me. He instilled in me an attitude that is centered on continuous renewal and reinvention of myself. In order to be a good leader and manager of resources, you cannot shy away from adversity, you must see yourself as a brand, so protect it and ensure you build others in order to create a sustain- able system.
What skill sets should people in school today be acquiring to be attractive candidates in the data marketplace five years from now? We live in a very fast paced world where three basic skills are required for new entrants into the job market – learning, literacy and life skills, I like to further summarize it as; think critically, read voraciously and have excellent social skills.
What do you do to unwind from a hectic day? I enjoy relaxing in the company of my family or watching a football game or reading a book.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing? I would certainly be a farmer and I hope to fully engage in that one day.
If you could live another 300 years, what would you want to accomplish? Ensure Nigeria becomes the major hub for electronic payments in the world.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the electronic payment space? End the menace of fraud, it is a constant threat to the confidence we are trying to build in electronic payments in Nigeria.
What is your motto or philosophy of life? Never toe the line of least resistance.