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Why CBN can’t freeze BVN deficient accounts for long

Considering the height of financial illiteracy in the country and ongoing drive by stakeholders to deepen financial inclusion amongst the rural dwellers, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will continue to be constrained to freeze accounts without Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs).

An Abuja High Court had few weeks ago ruled that bank accounts without valid BVN stand freezed, but some interest groups including consortium of banks and human rights lawyers approached the court and vacated the order.

Industry analysts who spoke with our correspondents said many Nigerians may have not matured well in issues of financial technology and the banks are not even helping matters or doing enough in driving awareness and needed education.

Only recently, the Nigerian Interbank Settlements Systems (NIBSS) Plc, in its October report revealed that the number of BVNs issued by banks to their customers has increased from 30.4 million to over 30.6 million between September and October, this year.

Earlier, the BVNs so far issued by the banks have reached 29.4 million.

Given the month-on-month growth in enrolments, the BVN enrolments may have now surpassed 30 million mark as at the end of September.

Statistics show that a total 97.57 million bank accounts are operated in the country, including corporate and individual savings, currents and other forms of accounts.

In the total, only 51.7 million bank accounts both savings and currents as well as other forms of accounts have been linked with the 30.4 million BVNs so far issued.

Accordingly, only 45.87 million bank accounts residing with commercial banks are unlinked and as such are currently dormant. As at December 2016, the banks had linked 49.9 million and this jumped to 50 million in January 2017.

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