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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Big SIM card fraud uncovered in SA

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here’s what I’ve got for you today:

  • Big SIM card fraud uncovered in SA
  • CNG, EV or Petrol: Which car is best for Nigeria
  • E-hailing union protests ₦45k airport fee, Bolt uniform

Big SIM card fraud uncovered in SA

South Africa’s Communication Risk Information Centre (COMRiC) helped bust a huge SIM card fraud ring in Gauteng and the Free State, leading to the arrest of 48 suspects—45 in Johannesburg and 3 in Bloemfontein, all foreign nationals. 

Among them, six Chinese nationals were identified as the masterminds. Authorities seized over two million illegally obtained SIM cards, none cloned or fake, from various providers, along with bulk SMS messaging machines.

COMRiC noted that the Bloemfontein arrests came after a thorough operation by a team of police units, government departments, private security, and forensic investigators. They found SIM cards from different providers in two houses in Woodlands, Bloemfontein.

COMRiC CEO Thokozani Mvelase pointed out that these machines are linked to criminal activities like identity theft, information theft, and unauthorised bank access, which also create headaches for network providers by causing network congestion and increased security costs.

In a related move, MTN announced last March it would crack down on illegally registered SIM cards sold by partners. MTN’s policy now deregisters SIMs not activated within 72 hours of being registered. 

Sidebar: South Africa’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has lost over $16 million to cyber attacks in the last decade, with some speculating that there might be collusion between officials and criminals.

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CNG, EV or Petrol: Which car is best for Nigeria

Beryl TV Petrol-Station-322-b Big SIM card fraud uncovered in SA Techs

After the petrol subsidy was removed in 2023, petrol prices shot up by 200%. Around that time, Bolu explored the idea of using electric vehicles (EVs) as an alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. 

Most people agreed EVs are a great option, but there are many hurdles preventing the average Nigerian from owning and using one.

To be fair, Nigerian EV manufacturer Siltech has a three-wheeler called the Falcon that’s somewhat affordable and practical for daily use. However, it’s not quite the same experience as driving your petrol-powered Toyota Camry.

Interestingly, there’s another option — compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. CNG isn’t a new concept, but if it’s new to you, here’s a quick rundown.

CNG-powered vehicles run on compressed natural gas, which isn’t too different from regular petrol or diesel vehicles since they all use internal combustion engines but run on different fuels. The big advantage of CNG is that it burns cleaner and lasts longer than petrol.

Plus, CNG engines are generally more efficient, giving you more mileage from the same amount of fuel compared to petrol.

So, not only does CNG burn cleaner and make it better for the environment, but it also lasts longer, saving you money in the long run. It’s like giving your car a healthier diet that makes it run smoother and cleaner. 

So, which of these options is best for the average Nigerian car user? Check out Bolu’s latest insights for that.

E-hailing union protests ₦45k airport fee, Bolt uniform

Beryl TV Uber-Bolt-Drivers-Threaten-Strike-on-Monday Big SIM card fraud uncovered in SA Techs

The Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON), the ride-hailing union, is threatening a strike to protest a new directive requiring its drivers to pay ₦45,000 for airport parking.

This directive, reportedly from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has sparked a lot of anger.

AUATON’s letter to the Minister of Aviation also opposes Bolt’s new policy mandating drivers to wear uniforms. The union sees this as an attempt by Bolt to monopolise the market.

The union points out that its members are self-employed, meaning drivers should have control over their relationship with companies like Bolt, Uber, and InDrive. This view aligns with Bolt’s stance that drivers are independent contractors, not employees.

AUATON is calling for an emergency meeting with the minister before the directive’s implementation on July 15, 2024, to avoid an indefinite strike and potential disruption at Lagos airport.

In their letter, AUATON suggests an alternative: the Federal Ministry of Aviation should rent out parking spaces to their members for a daily fee, keeping control with the union and regulated by FAAN, rather than Bolt.

Kolawole AinaIn, AUATON’s Southwest Regional Chairman, mentioned that FAAN allocated parking space to e-hailing drivers in 2022, which Bolt quickly secured. Drivers had to undergo biometric verification and submit a police character certificate to AVSEC. Now, they’re being asked to pay another ₦45,000 and wear Bolt-branded uniforms, despite many using multiple apps.

AinaIn suggests FAAN should direct the fee towards the companies, not the drivers. Bolt, on the other hand, has said they must comply with the new security measures and regulations, as they don’t control these developments.

In case you missed it

What I’m watching


  • Pitch Friday is tomorrow, Friday, July 12, 2024. Register here to attend and apply here to pitch.
  • EarlyNode is looking for a Technical Writer. Apply here.
  • Ventures Platform has over 100 job openings across its portfolio companies. Apply here.
  • Moniepoint is hiring for 70 positions in the United Kingdom and several Nigerian states, including Lagos, Abia, and Anambra. Check them out here to apply.

Have a terrific Thursday!Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

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