Home » CBN’s New Policy Sparks Outrage Among Bank Customers

CBN’s New Policy Sparks Outrage Among Bank Customers

Nigerians' reactions to the CBN's new BVN and NIN policy are diverse.

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a new directive that requires all bank customers to have their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and National Identity Numbers (NIN) linked to their accounts by March 1, 2024. The policy, which aims to enhance the security and efficiency of the banking system, has been met with mixed reactions from Nigerians.

According to the CBN’s circular, no new Tier 1 accounts or wallets can be opened without BVN or NIN. For existing accounts without BVN or NIN, unfunded accounts will be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” until the requirements are met. Starting March 1, 2024, all funded accounts without BVN or NIN will also be restricted from transactions.

Based on the report by Business Day, the CBN said the policy is part of the overall strategy of ensuring the effectiveness of Know Your Customer (KYC) principles and promoting a safe, reliable and efficient payments system. The BVN is a unique identifier number that allows individual accounts to be verified across the Nigerian banking industry. The NIN is a unique identifier number that is issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to all Nigerians and legal residents.

However, many Nigerians have expressed their dissatisfaction with the policy, citing various challenges and inconveniences. Some questioned how anyone can have a bank account without BVN, as it has been mandatory since 2014. Others wondered about the fate of Nigerians in the diaspora who may not have BVN or NIN. Some also accused the government of imposing unnecessary policies without fixing the underlying problems.

On social media platform X, users vented their frustrations and shared their opinions. “So they have so many accounts without no bvn before? This country na joke” Stanley Junior said. “Are there any bank that opens an account without BVN?” @EdogaSimon asked.

@MrFelixNnorom while venting about the directive, believes it is the new administration’s way of showing that they are ‘working’

“How can an account even be active without BVN or NIN? Una don come with revalidation nonsense again! Why this madness in every administration?” he tweeted.

Diamond Swit @diamondswit16 is worried about the effects of the directive on Nigerians in the diaspora who have bank accounts.

“And what will happen with the diaspora account? A lot of them don’t have bvn or nin numbers. What a country. Instead of fixing the system first, they’re making laws that will negatively affect the Nigerian people” she said.

As the deadline for BVN and NIN registration approaches, Nigerians are encouraged to promptly link their BVN and NIN to their bank accounts to avoid any disruptions to their financial transactions.

The CBN has advised the public to utilize various BVN and NIN registration channels, including bank branches, mobile registration centres, and online platforms.

According to the latest data from NIBSS, over 57 million Nigerians have enrolled for BVN as of March 31, 2023. The NIMC has also said that 15 million BVN have already been linked with NIN as of January 2021. The NIMC and the CBN are working together to ensure that all Nigerians who have BVN can get their NIN through the harmonization process.

The CBN and the NIMC have assured Nigerians that the policy is in their best interest and will help to combat fraud, identity theft, money laundering and other crimes in the banking sector. They have also appealed for the cooperation and understanding of the public in the implementation of the policy.

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