CBN announces date to start freezing accounts of Nigerians without BVN or NIN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to freeze all accounts of Nigerians without a Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identification Number (NIN) starting from April 2024.

This decision was communicated in a circular issued on Friday, December 1, 2023.

According to the bank, a BVN or NIN verification will be “conducted shortly”.

Recall that the apex bank at the Prembly Compliance Breakfast Dialogue in April 2023, had said objective is to clean up the sector and reduce the growing incidence of fraud.

The bank said it is working with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to address the growing incidence of fraud in the sector.

It listed three loopholes that cybercriminals are exploiting. The Tier-1 account is top of the list of loopholes. A Tier-1 account refers to a bank account that can be opened with minimal or without any form of documents

According to the CBN, this account can be opened with a passport photograph. The account has a limit of N50,000 deposit and an operating balance of N200,000 and N300,000.

It further stated that they are mostly not linked to BVN and it is mostly targeted at the unbanked population and people living in rural communities. This is the account mostly dominated by digital banks also known as fintech firms.

It added that they also present the easiest entry point for hackers because they involve customers with little knowledge about cyber security and who are mostly not taking the necessary measures to protect their accounts

✍️ Temitope Hassan