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Panic As Banks Move To Freeze Over 70 M Accounts

Panic has gripped many Nigerians as more than 70 million bank customers face the risk of losing access to their accounts.

This is because the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive to restrict accounts without Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and National Identification Numbers (NIN) is set to take effect.

In a circular issued on December 1, 2023, the CBN mandated that a ‘Post No Debit’ restriction be imposed on all accounts lacking BVN and NIN from Friday, March 1, 2024. This directive aims to enhance the security and integrity of the banking system.

Chibuzo Efobi, Director of the Payments System Management Department, and Haruna Mustapha, Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, jointly signed the circular. They emphasized the necessity for all Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets to possess BVN and/or NIN, with similar requirements for Tier 2 & 3 accounts.

Efobi and Mustapha stated, “For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied. Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.”

Additionally, banks were warned of a forthcoming comprehensive BVN and NIN audit, with sanctions to be applied for identified breaches.

As the deadline loomed, several banks reached out to their customers, urging them to update their accounts in compliance with the CBN directive. Some instructed customers to visit physical branches, while others offered online account update options.

The CBN’s move aims to strengthen the banking sector’s security measures and ensure the authenticity of customer information in line with global best practices.

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