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7 years after, 68 million active bank accounts remain without BVN

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As the National Identification Number registration deadline nears tomorrow, Ripples Nigeria can confirm that 68 million bank accounts are without Bank Verification Number (BVN).

According to data from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme Nigeria, active bank accounts stand at 115 million as at May 2020. When the 46,035,474 accounts linked to BVN as at January 17, 2020 are subtracted, it becomes clear that only 40 percent of active accounts are linked.

This is seven years since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) launched the mandatory Bank Verification Number (BVN) scheme.

Although about 3 million BVNs were linked between August and January 2020, the lagging figure again shows some institutions and Nigerians’ nonchalant attitude to government policies.

It may be recalled that the CBN had issued January 1, 2018 as deadline for the first phase of the BVN registration, warning account holders would “no longer be entitled to debit instructions.”

Already, on social media, responding to the ongoing NIN registration ending tomorrow, some Nigerians are daring the government to disconnect their lines, claiming “there is always a way around everything in Nigeria”.

READ ALSO: CBN probes bank customers’ enrolment in BVN

“This will be another policy again, they make us suffer with so much noise, after a while it will go away and everything will become normal,” Tunde Alao, a trader said.

“I remember how with BVN, we had to all run to the bank to get it; today what has become of the policy?”

But security experts are worried about the growing number of active bank accounts without BVN. Worse, though, is that the apex bank is not sanctioning such institutions.

Chinedu Ibe, a cybersecurity specialist, said,

“Indeed, I am skeptical about this whole exercise, yes it is a very welcome development, but, I am sure in the next two years some persons will be having their lines without NIN.

“Until Nigeria government begins to take its policy serious Nigerians won’t take them seriously. Covid-19 prevention instructions is a clear example how Nigerians see those in the helm of affairs”.

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