Millions Of Depositors Threatened As Banks Move To Block Accounts Not Linked To NIN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a directive to banks to restrict over 70 million accounts without Bank Verification Numbers and National Identification Numbers, effective from March 1, 2024.

This was revealed in a circular jointly signed by the Director of the Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and the Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha.

Part of the circular reads, “For all existing Tier-1 accounts and wallets without BVN or NIN, effective immediately, any unfunded account and 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.”

‘Post No Debit’ is a term used to describe a restriction imposed by banks on specific accounts, preventing customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits from such accounts. This measure effectively freezes the funds in the account, rendering them inaccessible for the duration of the restriction.

 The circular went on to warn banks in the country that a “comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shall be conducted shortly and where breaches are identified, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.”

As the deadline approached, some banks sent out messages to their customers to regularize their accounts in line with the new CBN directive. While some asked customers to visit their physical branches, others made provisions for customers to update their accounts online.

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