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Nigerian Banks React As CBN Requests For All Accounts Without BVN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has written a letter to the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country, requesting that they submit to it the list of customers and bank accounts without bank verification number (BVN).

The letter came after a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the CBN and 19 banks to freeze accounts without the BVN and got an interim order seeking the forfeiture of deposits in the accounts without the BVN, among others.

The Punch reports that while quite a number of the banks, if not all, have complied with the directive from the CBN, the DMBs are also lobbying the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to halt the plan by the Federal Government to seize monies in the bank accounts of customers without the BVN.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on October 17 granted a request by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for a temporary forfeiture of all funds held in bank accounts not linked to BVNs and those whose ownership could not be completely identified.

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The court ordered all the 19 DMBs operating in the country to release to the Nigerian government names of accounts not yet connected to BVN; account numbers; their outstanding balances; domiciling locations; and domiciliary accounts without BVN and where they are domiciled.

The Judge also ordered the banks to advertise the accounts without the BVN in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to those who might have any interest in them.

The case was then adjourned until November 16 for the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the sums in the accounts without the BVN.

However, the 19 DMBs named in suit have engaged the services of a top law firm to address the matter, according to top banking industry sources.

Already, the law firm has approached the court for an extension of time to appeal the court order.

“All the banks are ready to appeal the court order. We have engaged the services of a law firm to begin that process. The legal firm is expected to have filed the papers for an extension of time at the court. This will help us prepare for the proposed appeal,” a top executive of a tier-1 bank told The Punch under the condition of anonymity last Monday.

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