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From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
As a way to mitigate prevalent cases of illicit financial transactions by Agency and Mobile Banking Operators (AMBO) popularly known as PoS operators, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE) has identified and certified the credible ones among the operators.
Speaking at a one day workshop organized for the PoS operators on Sunday in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital, NUBIFIE, the affiliate body of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko warned the operators to be wary of transactions that may land them in trouble.
The commissioner who was represented by DSP Tayo Ogunjemisin noted that many PoS operators have landed in trouble by giving their bank accounts to criminally minded individuals who use their accounts for illicit transactions.
She said: “Many PoS operators have become victims of circumstances by sharing their account numbers to criminally minded persons and many of them have been locked up because criminals have used their account numbers for illicit transactions and police investigation identity them as suspects in the crimes.
“In section 7 of Criminal Code, PoS operator can be a party in crime unknowingly. The modus operandi of Yahoo boys is moving cash from one bank account to the other and if your account is among them, you can be implicated.
The invited guest lecturer, Mr. Festus Adebiyi, a financial expert from Zenith Bank noted that PoS operators are the future of banking operations as he advised them to prepare for the challenges ahead.
In his lecture titled: ” the financial inclusion strategy and future roles of agents”, Adebiyi maintained that only 49℅ of Nigerian population have bank accounts while remaining 51℅ are yet to be enrolled in banking products and services.
He said this called for the necessity of financial inclusion policy by World Bank and Nigerian government to ensure everyone is included in financial services. He added that banks had unable to fill this vacuum as they have limited resources. He noted that only PoS operators have been able to fill the vacuum of making banking services available in all nooks and crannies of the country.
He said: “Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses should have access to affordable financial products and services and must meet their needs like transactions, savings, payment, credits, insurance and these services must be delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
“Therefore, PoS operation is a fulfillment of financial inclusion by World Bank and Federal Government of Nigeria.
Adebiyi noted that there are localities that banks can’t reach because of limited workforce and facilities or cost of services, saying PoS agents had made it possible to make banking services accessible to all and sundry.
“The services rendered by PoS operators include: account opening, cash withdrawal, cash deposits, cash transfer, payment of bills and so on”, he revealed.
Adebiyi added that all these goodies come with challenges or risks and the reason for the workshop.
He said PoS operators can be vulnerable to crimes unknowingly, saying the challenges facing PoS operators today starts from liquidity problem and privacy challenge.
“Therefore, PoS agents must prepare themselves against future roles in financial sector when PoS agents will perform equivalent roles to banks”, he said.
The Deputy General Secretary of NUBIFIE, Comrade Shola Aboderin therefore distributed identification cards to PoS operators who are certified and worthy agency and mobile banking operators.