BVN: Bank customers group faults FG, calls for threshold, deadline extension | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News

30.10.17

BVN: Bank customers group faults FG, calls for threshold, deadline extension

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BVN: Bank customers group faults FG, calls for threshold, deadline extension
BANK Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN) has faulted the move by the federal government to take possession of money in all the 15.3 million bank accounts yet to enrol for the Biometric Verification Number (BVN).
While describing the move by the federal government as shocking and unfair, the association called for a threshold in the implementation of the freeze as well as an extension of the deadline accompanied with extensive awareness campaign.
On October 17th, the Federal High Court in Abuja, ruling on an ex parte motion filed on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of the Federation, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the 19 commercial banks in the country to disclose all non BVN accounts in their custody and the balances in such accounts. In his ruling, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba directed the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.Speaking in an exclusive interview withFinancial Vanguard, BCAN President, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, stated: “While we understand the intention of using the BVN to checkmate corruption, we consider it unfair to assume that all non BVN account holders are corrupt or the money in their accounts were proceeds of corruption.
He said that BCAN was of the opinion that most BVN defaulters are neither government official nor civil servants who are usually mentioned in cases of corruption.
“More so, proceeds of corruption are usually huge amount of money, in millions or in billions, not the small amount of money in most of these non-BVN accounts. That is why we are of the opinion that the government should set a threshold in terms of amount of money in such accounts before they can qualify for forfeiture. The federal government can set a threshold of N10 million and above.
“Furthermore, the blanket freeze will lead to multiplicity of problems. An example is the issue of accounts in deficit. These are accounts of debtors that did not repay their loans, and did not obtain BVN. If the government is taking over credit balances in non BVN accounts, then they should also assume responsibilities for such deficit and repay the loans.
“We also believe that the deadline is too short, and many people are not even aware about the intention of the government. 14 days are to short especially when you consider the logistics involved. There are lots of people in remote areas.
“The deadline should be extended while the federal government and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN should work together to enlighten the public especially people living in remote areas about the intention to take possession of money in non BVN accounts and the need for defaulters to comply by enrolling for the numbers.
“The banks should also make it easy for people to enroll. They should show sympathy especially in cases relating to difference in names due to change in marital status.”
VANGUARD

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