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The Arachnys Data Source Series: Nigeria

Continuously building out our source information, provided via the Arachnys Data Gateway, we look to give our clients the confidence to perform onboarding, screening and investigations for companies and individuals they do business with worldwide.

The worldwide tag here is one of utmost importance. The material that we gather and upload into our platform covers 253 regions and 109 languages, many of which we are hoping to delve into in more detail for this new series of articles.

Here we present a behind-the-scenes look into Arachnys’ scouring of local data sources, and real-life stories of our own research (ground-based and digital) from outsourced investigators and journalists across the globe. Up first, a ‘priority country’ for new data sources: Nigeria.

The brief

An initiative that we’re hoping to continue with great vigour is working alongside external investigators. We continue to use corporate intelligence firms for the processing of all the data that we find along the way, but gaining information from local experts per region of interest is very much part of the Arachnys game plan going forward.

Nigeria became a key country for us to investigate for a number of reasons. Ultimately, it is a region commonly searched for by clients within our platform and therefore very worthy of our attention to assimilate as much data as possible. Also, Nigeria is a growth market, with a rapidly advancing economy, and therefore more than a nascent business interest for financial institutions in the current climate. What is most notable in relation to our services is that Nigeria carries high financial crime challenges; extensive source information is needed to best assist clients to identify and mitigate business risk from companies and individuals in the region.

The source

Scoping experts from some areas of the globe is certainly a tough ask, and one that requires a fair amount of due diligence from our side. The Arachnys team looked to work with a number of local journalists and sources on the ground in different regions, who have first-hand experience of which sources matter.

We were looking for around 50 websites from an esteemed individual’s country of expertise; URLs, the accessibility of the data, and the purpose and usefulness of the information contained were key. We asked them to identify the sources that would be most valuable when conducting investigative resources, and to categorise them according to our data model. Think corporate data, regional news sources, leaks, government documents or even social media, then segmented once more using such sub-categories as court records, intellectual property, microblogging examples and telephone directories. The more detailed the results the better to separate known and unknown sources.

Our search found a validated local expert to supply a new batch of information. This source outlined in his credentials that he had a degree in political science and was working as a journalist specialising in both Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs). We were satisfied from his experience and in-depth research that his information would be key for investigative use.

Having returned a list of 50 web pages to us, 27 were already known and housed in our platform, and 23 new sources were identified. We validated these sources with our internal research team, and through our corporate intelligence partners, in terms of accuracy and reliability.

The inside information

Categorising this data makes identifying the pivotal information simple, and the most pertinent new sources we received from our local expert included 4 pieces of corporate information, 8 government and litigation websites, 4 leaked databases and 5 instances of news content and blogs.

Amongst these, the team highlighted the following as being of particular interest:

  • Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) – Nigeria’s domain registrar holding information from all .ng domains.
  • National Judicial Institute – a project by the National Judicial Council which acts as a large repository for PDFs of government gazettes, available for free.
  • State Governor Websites – including information about Governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki, a prominent PEP.
  • Nairaland – Nigeria’s main social network, containing all forms of content about happenings in the country from around 2005, albeit with more dubious credibility.


The next steps

The all important task of validating these sources, and subsequently uploading them into the Arachnys platform, is then conducted by our corporate intelligence partners using a variety of technologies. Namely, conducting custom crawls of the sources using algorithms for both structured and unstructured data, implementing simulators for sites that cannot be crawled by humans alone, and for sources that can’t be accessed we use our Universal Data Adaptor (UDA), but that was not necessary for this investigation.

As you can see, using region-specific research we can build up our database with sources unbeknown to us already, and supply clients with pertinent information for KYC, AML and EDD purposes. Local experts with advanced knowledge of their regions of interest are therefore an excellent repository of investigative knowledge for us to supplement our platform with.