The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Thursday that about 20.8 million active account users enrolled on the Bank Verification Number (BVN) as at Oct. 25.
The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Ibrahim Mu’azu, announced this on the sideline of the Fiscal Liquidity Assessment Committee workshop on Thursday in Abuja.
Mu’azu said that the CBN had no plans to extend the deadline of the exercise.
He said that the current figure was obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).
“While it can be said that some substantial efforts have been made in terms of enrollment and successes recorded, what is left is for the remaining account holders to get their accounts linked to BVN.
“Furthermore, Nigerian banks’ customers in the Diaspora have taken advantage of more facilities provided for enrollment in more locations abroad.
“The updated information on the locations for the enrollment of Nigeria banks’ customers in the Diaspora can be accessed through the NIBSS website,” he said.
Mu’azu said that to show that most people complied with the apex bank’s directive, there was less pressure in the banking halls across the country even as the deadline was drawing to a close.
“The point needs to be stressed here that it is not enough to just enroll for BVN. The process is duly concluded only when all accounts owned by a bank customer are linked to his or her BVN.
“From the foregoing, it becomes clear that the insinuation of about 32 million accounts holders yet to enroll was simply a misrepresentation that fails to take into consideration the multiple accounts holding habit of most Nigerians.
“All said, if anyone has not enrolled for BVN, it cannot be attributed to lack of facilities, but out of his or her individual volition.
“By all indications, it can be safely said that the BNV exercise by the Bankers’ Committee in collaboration with the CBN has proved rather successful,” he said.
A financial expert, Mr Christopher Aigbe, assured Nigerians that the nature of the BVN deadline gave customers opportunities to still register after the exercise ended.
“I don’t really see a deadline. It’s just that it has officially ended and for that, your account will be blocked until you register. Banks don’t have the right to close your account and keep your money.
“So nothing stops you from working into the bank at anytime to register and have your accounts reopened,” he said.
Miss Comfort Haruna, a bank customer, said that BVN registration and linking of accounts would have gone more smoothly if banks had come out with innovative ways early for the exercise.
CBN, in collaboration with all banks in Nigeria, on Feb. 14, 2014, launched the BVN.
It is a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry.
It aims at addressing issues of identity theft, fraud; helps to fish out blacklisted customers; reduces queues in banking halls and standardises efficiency of banking operations.
The CBN said the BVN was to encourage banks to grant loans to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and students in the country.