46m bank accounts risk forfeiture as BVN ultimatum draws near

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By Odunewu Segun

Funds in about 46 million accounts that are yet to be linked to BVN are likely to be temporarily forfeited, just as no fewer than 15 million Nigerians living in the Diaspora with about N3 trillion have kicked against the Federal High Court’s interim order obtained by the Federal Government to freeze all accounts – corporate and individual – without Bank Verification Numbers (BVN).

Meanwhile banks have started reaching out to their customers, asking them to come and complete the biometric registration process, as the deadline draws near. Also, customers, who have different names order across banks, were mostly affected, while the number of customers who had no BVN was very small compared to those who had complied with the directive.

A source from one of the commercial banks, who was authorized to speak for the bank said: “Prior to this directive, we have been freezing the bank accounts of customers to enable them comply. “The customers who are yet to do that are mostly those who have names mismatch problems. This will be resolved soon.”

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Another tier 1 bank noted that its bank would comply with the CBN directive to freeze accounts and publish names if there was no contrary order within the stipulated period. “We are already taking steps to communicate with customers who had yet to do so”, the source explained.

The Federal High court had ordered the banks to disclose the details of all such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance deposed to by their chief compliance officers.

It also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping “ all outward payments, operations or transactions ”pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.

The court also directed the CBN and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems “to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks” within seven days from the date of service of the orders on them.

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