Despite the fact that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) exercise in the country ended in June 2016, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has extended it till August 2017 for final rectification of unclaimed accounts within the banking system.
As at November 2016, an estimated N2.5 billion related to accounts were said to have not been linked with the BVN of their supposed owners.
But commercial, and other deposit banks, have refused to disclose the real identity of the institutions and individuals whose names are associated with the accounts.
However, the CBN said it is extending the deadline to enable such account owners come up for them, following fresh appeals by both the bankers committee and other stakeholders that another opportunity be given for such accounts, failure of which government would assume that the monies are illegally lodged.
The CBN spokesman, Isaac Okoroafor, said “the apex bank is not extending the deadline for BVN exercise, nor are we restarting the process, as being reported, rather we are introducing a human face to the programme.”
Investigation reveals that most of the affected bank accounts affected without BVN are largely those, which commercial banks’ system errors are responsible for.
A Lagos-based senior journalist, Jumoke Aina said she was recently embarrassed when her bank refused to honour a cheque she issued to someone and on inquiry, at Ajao Estate branch of her bank, they told her that there was a mix up over what is actually her surname.
“That was not the first time that I have been summoned by the bank over some issues relating to my account, meaning that there might have been several of such cases being erroneously classified as accounts without BVN,” she explained.
Others complained of receiving text messages telling them that their bank accounts had been suspended by CBN for some inconsistency with their BVNs.
But there is the belief in official quarters that the introduction of the bank identification number in the system has helped in discouraging corrupt officials from maintaining multiple accounts with fictitious names.
This, they said is largely paying off as some large cash being found in homes and non banking settings by the security agencies in the past months are as a result of BVN.
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