LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

AN OVERVIEW OF THE ELECTRONIC BANKING SYSTEM IN NIGERIA:CHALLENGES AND THE WAY FORWARD. BY ORINGO BAMIDELE GABRIEL

INTRODUCTION
The Nigerian banking system is one that has experienced a drastic change overtime. Prior to this time, we had in place a manual banking system which occasioned much hardship on individuals. A notable example is the instance where an individual’s presence was of high essence before a transaction could be completed and amongst other challenges. However, in our present time, the Nigerian banking system has evolved from this stage to the technological stage which is the electronic banking, also known as E-BANKING. This article addresses the meaning of electronic banking, the classifications of E- BANKING, the challenges arising from E-BANKING in Nigeria and the way forward for E- BANKING in Nigeria.
THE MEANING OF ELECTRONIC BANKING.
An erudite scholar, ‘Dr Jake Otu Enyia,’ Defined electronic banking in his book, “The Law Of Banking In Nigeria, Principles, Statutes and Guidelines” as a generic term encompassing other specific terms such as internet-banking, personal computer banking, online banking, mobile banking, telephone banking, short message service banking, e-payment, e-cards, e-cash, e-money, digital-cash, e-cheque, etc.

In other words, e-banking may mean a method of transacting modern banking business through the use of automated processes and electronic devices such as computers, telex and fax machines, the internet, card payments, automated teller machines, telephone and other media.
According to Cambridge advanced learners dictionary 4th edition, Electronic banking is the use of the internet to organize, examine, and make changes to your bank accounts and investments, etc. electronically, or the use of the internet by banks to operate accounts and services.

CLASSIFICATIONS OF ELECTRONIC BANKING SYSTEM 
Electronic banking system are classified basically into two and they include: 
(1)The network based, and
(2) The non network based electronic banking system. 
We shall hereunder consider briefly these two classifications:
1) NON- NETWORK BASED- This form of electronic banking requires the customers physical presence at the point of service. The Automated Teller Machine (A.T.M) and smart cards are examples of non-network based.
2)  NETWORK BASED- The Internet, telephone network are involved in this form of electronic banking. Banking transactions could be carried out anywhere in the world. Examples of a network based electronic banking are;
A) Electronic fund Transfer ( EFT), 
B) Telephone Banking ( Tele Banking), 
C) Mobile Banking ( M-banking), D)Personal Computer (PC Banking) and so on.
CHALLENGES CONFRONTING ELECTRONIC BANKING
The E-Banking system in Nigeria is one that has encountered numerous challenges since its inception. We shall however note out, and shall address the key challenges that have bedevilled the E-Banking system in Nigeria. They are as follows; 
1) Non existence of a legislation.
2) Erratic power supply.
3) Computer illiteracy.
These challenges will be discussed hereunder.
 (1). NON EXISTENCE OF A LEGISLATION ON ELECTRONIC BANKING IN NIGERIA:
The electronic Banking system in Nigeria has one of its great challenges to be the non existence of a legislation or statute enabling it. There is neither an act of the National Assembly or law of the house of assembly enabling electronic banking. This has given rise to seeming difficulty of individuals being unable to approach the court for redress as some of their actions maybe unfounded and brought pursuant to no law. It should be noted that there is an existence of  regulations on electronic banking as contained in the central bank of Nigeria guidelines on e-banking issued in  August 2003, as well as standard and guidelines on ATM, issued in 2010 which are widely criticized as being inadequate. There are also the Banks and other financial institutions Act 2010, Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2010 and the Evidence Act 2011 to mention but a few. However, these laws and acts were not enacted purposely to be on electronic banking, but they indirectly impact on electronic banking in one way or the other.

BANK AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ACT.
Electronic banking is not directly regulated by this Act but by virtue of section 57 the Governor of the central Bank of Nigeria is saddled with the power to make regulations published in the federal Gazette, to give full effect to the objects and objectives of the Act as well as power to supervise and regulate the activities of other financial institutions.
(2)ERRATIC POWER SUPPLY
It remains a fact of common knowledge that the Nigerian electricity supply system is epileptic. The standard is low and this affect the banking system. Electronic devices like the ATM which need a 24/7 power supply is deprived of such by the epileptic power supply.  This  pose financial losses for banks, whereby millions are spent daily to keep electronic devices running.
 (3)COMPUTER  ILLITERACY
The societal structure of Nigeria witnesses the overwhelming rise rather than decrease in the level of illiteracy generally.
A society highly bitten  by illiteracy can hardly cope with the sophistry of electronic banking. Even those who has acquired  good academic certification are computer illiterates. Thus, In a society wallowing in illiteracy, the operation of electronic banking can’t  hold water or stand the test of time. 
PROSPECTS OF ELECTRONIC BANKING
In the words of Ada Adams, ” There is a light at the end of every tunnel”. Therefore, there is hope for electronic banking in Nigeria. It must be understood that  there is no technological invention without challenges. In order to curb the challenges of electronic banking, the Government, Family and corporate personalities all have a role to play.
 GOVERNMENT ROLE:
The society cannot function without  set of persons bestowed with the role of making laws and regulating activities in the sociey. It is the sole responsibility of the government to regulate and provide security and other basic amenities to its citizens, When these duties are not effectuated, there will be a disequilibrium in the society. 
The provision of quality education to the citizens like the  introduction of Information and communication technology in school curriculum, will enhance a decline in the level of computer illiteracy in the country thereby making workable the E-banking system. The law making arm of government should wake up and perform its duties. A bill on electronic banking should be proposed and passed into law so that there will be enough legislations  to curb the challenges that has bedeviled electronic banking.
CORPORATE ROLE :
The bank also has a pivotal role to play in mitigating the challenges of electronic banking. 
Inexperienced workers should not be allowed to operate  electronic devices, adequate training should be given to electronic banking device operators and also, its supervisors. There is also a rush on bankers to edge over rivals competing for patronage. Therefore,  a thorough scrutiny of the electronic device is  needed before installation, this will eradicate challenges  in future.
FAMILY ROLE:
Undeniably, cyber crime and banking malpractices are amongst the challenges of electronic banking. In order to curb this menace effectively, the family as a unit, is the grassroot for the reformation of individuals, needs to give thorough home training to their children. A good moral upbringing, births a sane society.
CONCLUSION
The inception of electronic banking has mitigated the harshness of manual banking, but its operation has not been devoid of challenges, which has brought its operation in Nigeria, below par.
RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended here that a legislation on electronic banking be made swiftly, also,  Information and Communication Technology should be incorporated into the curriculum of all levels of our academic institutions in Nigeria so that every individual in Nigeria will be acquainted will the knowledge of the computer and its mode of operation.
ABOUT  THE  AUTHOR 
ORINGO BAMIDELE GABRIEL, is a 300 level law student, University of Calabar, He is a legal Reseacher and author. 
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For knowledge and Justice

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