The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a directive indicating its intention to enact stringent measures against accounts lacking a Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN) starting in April 2024. In a circular circulated on Friday, the apex bank instructed banks to enforce a “Post No Debit” restriction on existing Tier-1 accounts and wallets that do not possess a BVN or NIN. This restriction will prevent customers from conducting withdrawals, transfers, or any form of debit.
For unfunded accounts, the “Post No Debit or Credit” restriction will be implemented immediately. As for funded accounts, they will face the same restriction effective March 1, 2024, with no further transactions permitted. The circular, jointly issued by CBN’s Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, also outlined that all BVN or NIN linked to accounts must undergo electronic revalidation by January 31, 2024.
The CBN stated that BVN or NIN verification will be conducted shortly, stressing its commitment to enhancing financial system stability and reinforcing Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures within financial institutions. Furthermore, the bank is set to conduct a comprehensive BVN and NIN audit, applying appropriate sanctions where breaches are identified.
To streamline the account opening process, the CBN reiterated the use of electronic retrieval from the NIBSS BVN or NIMC NIN databases. This information will become the primary data for onboarding new customers, with existing customer accounts and wallets for individuals possessing validated BVN promptly profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD within 24 hours of opening accounts and wallets.
In cases where potential customers lack a BVN or NIN, the CBN advises regulated financial institutions to initiate the enrollment process on the BVN database, adhering to existing protocols issued by the NIBSS.