BVN/NIN Banks Linkage: 70.5million accounts May Block , ATCIS-Nigeria Call for Three Months Extension or Hardship upon Citizens by CBN & NIMC Says Hon Sina Bilesanmi*

The Association of Telephone, Cable Tv and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria (ATCIS-Nigeria) has called for three months extension of Bank Verification Number and National Identity Number linkage to individual and corporate account.

The National President of ATCIS-Nigeria, Hon Prince Sina Bilesanmi made this call on Sunday March 3rd, while speaking with journalists in Lagos. He added that the association was established in August 2015 with Reg CACA/IT/N090152, with a mission to promote mutual co-existence, fair play, defend the rights of subscribers by endorsing and ensuring good products and network service delivery from service providers to their corporate and individual members, while providing a platform to advance the right of telephone, cable television and internet subscribers throughout Nigeria.

Hon Bilesanmi expressed dissatisfaction about process account holders gone through just to link their BVN/NIN to their account and considering terribly bad network being experienced from all telecoms in the country.

The ATCIS National President want to Maintain the relationship between both and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor for three months extension in order not to compound citizens plight with rigorous processing involved in linking their account with BVN and NIN.

Currently, people trying hard to navigate through hardship brought to them over removal of fuel subsidy, couple with inflation which had made it impossible for some household to enjoy 3 square meals in a day.

Customers from different banks had lamented network failure in major banks they visited.

Many of the  banks have placed restricted access to bank accounts not linked to the National Identity Number, as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In view of what people are currently experiencing in the country, Hon Bilesanmi has urged for three months extension from the CBN.

The CBN had in a circular PSM /DIR/PUB/CIR/001/053 on December 1st 2023, directed that banks should place restrictions on all Tier 1 bank accounts without BVN.

Tier 1 accounts are accounts that can be opened with a valid identity or proof of address.

The maximum daily transaction limit for a Tier account is N50,000 while the maximum account balance is N300,000.
According to the circular, titled, ‘TIER-1 WALLETS AND ACCOUNTS: MANDATORY USE OF BANK VERIFICATION NUMBER (BVN) OR NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (NIN), the CBN said: “As part of its effort in promoting financial system stability, it becomes necessary to strengthen the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions under the purview of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“Accordingly, the CBN hereby issues an amendment to Section 1.5.3 of the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry (The Guidelines).

In this regard: It is mandatory for ALL Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets for individuals to have BVN and/or NIN
“It remains mandatory for Tiers 2 & 3 accounts and wallets for Individual accounts to have BVN and NIN;
“The process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers, and all existing customer accounts/wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled in the NIBSS’’ ICAD immediately and within 24hrs of opening accounts/wallets.

“Effective immediately, no new Tier 1 accounts and wallets should be opened without BVN or NIN, “For ALL existing Tier 1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN:

“Effective immediately, any unfunded account/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.”

It is true that we have started implementing the directive. We have begun to place restrictions on accounts not linked to NIN

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 regularise 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.

The National President of the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers of Nigeria. ATCIS, Hon Sina Bilesanmi, who called for three months an extension of the deadline, said while the policy was a good move to improve banks’ KYC requirements, its implementation was worrisome, association is a leading telecoms subscribers advocacy body with over 223 million members with different professionals across 36 states in the six geopolitical zones “that’s why ATCIS called for CBN, NIMC, FG, NGF, NCC, Courtesy visit, Incollaboration and more advocacy to over 200 million membership across 36 state within the six geo political zone in Nigeria since a year ago now.”

He said, “We are all aware that it is a good policy for the system for us to have good KYC, but unfortunately, what we have a challenge with is the implementation. This is another wrong implementation. Before you give a deadline, you must have provided the access points. As of today, we have about 104 million NINs out of 200 million people expected to have NINs. So, there is a gap of about 100 million.

“It is the same thing with the BVN, which as of the last report was about 59.9 million out of 134 million expected bank accounts. That means we have over 70 million accounts, which will be affected.”

According to data from Statistics, as of 2021, the number of active bank accounts in the country was around 133.5 million, with savings accounts making up about 120 million.

Hon Bilesanmi claimed that the National Identity Management Commission lacked the capacity to deliver 100 million NINs within the required timeframe.

He said, “The question is, can the NIMC deliver the gap of about 100 million NINs within the deadline? The answer is no, so why should this drive Nigerians into another problem? For BVNs, we have a huge gap to deliver and only bank branches can enrol BVN as of today.

ATCIS-Nigeria has made significant progress and various reforms with a credit of three hundred and thirty (330) successful programs and achievements for the betterment of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers across the country to her name.

“Based on ATCIS research, about 300 local government areas out of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria have no bank branches; so, who are those who are going to provide BVN enrolment at those LGAs? It means THAT our members are going to run into TROUBLE, based on your bad policy as a government agency

ATCIS-Nigeria has received twenty-five (25) awards (and still counting) from various Government agencies, corporate bodies and International organizations including from world leading Telecommunications agencies and Telecoms conferences in Spain, France, Ghana, London and Lagos-Nigeria.

Our team’s of influence and connection as a leading body in consumer advocacy has afforded our members employment opportunities at various firms across the country. With nine hundred and seventh (970) newspaper publications in local, international and online news media as of 29th February, 2024 and a presence in twenty (20) National Television and Radio stations for an Interview Program on every Wednesday of the week tagged “Know Your Rights As Telecoms Subscribers from Network Operators and service providers” the body is well poised to executive its core purpose of consumer protection

ATCIS has spent 790 million naira till date basically on advocate for the right to people according to our financial report, through donation from members, loans and support.

“ATCIS-Nigeria, National President, Hon Sina Bilesanmi also want FG, CBN, NIMC, JAMB, NCC, Operator’s, Services Provider and others to respect our request of three months extension right as to mark World Right Day, which is celebrated on March 15 of every year.”

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