BVN: Over 15 million accounts unlinked
• Diaspora still searching for registration centres
TWO days after the deadline for compliance with the Bank Verification Number (BVN), customers of the financial institutions remain unsettled, as about 15 million remained unlinked to their respective accounts.
According to the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), about 14.4 million accounts have only been linked among over 50 million active accounts in the industry.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had estimated that given the assessed tradition of multiple accounts holding by an average Nigerian, which was estimated at two or three per account holder, there could be a little over 50 million active accounts that possibly have been involved in the BVN project.
Meanwhile, there were indications that some highly placed individuals from the political and civil service arena have evaded the BVN scheme, which was promoted to uniquely identify account holders by biometrics and facial marks.
The abandonment was aimed at avoiding probable investigations into their sources of wealth, which at present is enormous within the banking system, even as access to the fund now has become a risky venture.
But yesterday marked another day of lamentations, with some banks’ customers baring fangs over the lack of connectivity after they had long gone through the process of completing the BVN registration.
The Guardian investigation around Oshodi area of Lagos State yesterday also showed that many customers were stuck in banking halls, with long queues to rectify the issues, while others are just filling their forms to link their accounts.
One of the customers told The Guardian that he linked the account two weeks ago, wandering why he still could not access his account up till now.
A statement from CBN, signed by the Director Communications, Alhaji Ibrahim Mu’azu read: “While it can be said that some substantial efforts have been made in terms of enrollment and successes recorded, what is left therefore, is for the remaining account holders to get their accounts linked to BVN.
“The point needs to be stressed here that it is not enough to just enroll for BVN. The process is duly concluded only when all accounts owned by bank customers are linked to their respective BVNs.”
NIBSS spokesperson, Lilian Phido, said her agency, which hosts the platform for the project, is not to blame and has no answer to that, as the platform has been tested and ready for capturing of information and responding where necessary.
“The customers should go back to their respective banks to sort it out. The linking is done at the bank. Once they contact the platform, you can be sure that it will be linked and the customers would have unhindered access to their accounts.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians in the Diaspora are still not sure of their fate in relation to the exercise as they continue to search and wait for identifiable and nearest centre to obtain the unique code.
NIBBS had estimated that about 12,000 Nigerians in Diaspora have so far taken advantage of the BVN registration centres created outside the country.
But speaking with Mr. Ken from Atlanta, United States of America, he said that he has assumed the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria over there, campaigning and organising other Nigerians in readiness for any identifiable centre to no avail.
According to him, “the last time we heard about an address in Atlanta, it was almost becoming a scene, but we were more disappointed by the fact that nobody for that purpose was found there.
“Maybe, I was fortunate to have registered in Nigeria the last time I came over. But not everyone would have that opportunity to be here like me because of the associated costs and you cannot force someone to embark on such journey that would cost almost the yearly earnings of some here.”