‘It Is Illegal Denying Customers Access To Accounts Over BVN’
An Enugu-based human rights lawyer, Mr Olu Omotayo has said that it was illegal for any commercial bank to deny a customer access to his Account for not obtaining the Bank Verification
Numbers (BVN). He told The Guardian in Enugu that there is a binding agreement between the financial institutions and customers on transaction.
He emphasised that anything contrary to that is a case for the court to determine.
Omotayo said that any customer denied access to his account on the basis of
not having BVN was free to challenge such action in Court. He said: “I registered at the initial stage when the thing started. I went to my bank to do other things and saw people registering and decided to do mine. That was in December last year. There was no crowd then. I also got my BVN number after the exercise.
The CBN or operators have not come out with the benefits or what Nigerians or bank customers stand to gain from the policy. When you introduced a new policy, there must be regulations guiding it. They have not been able to come up clearly what it is all about. If you go to online or internet banking, there are CBN guidelines on it. So there should be a regulation as you cannot wake up to say people must have verification numbers.
It will be illegal for banks to deny people access to their accounts because of the BVN. BVN should be a continuous process. There should be no deadline for the exercise. It is not possible because banks can’t keep people’s money and refuse them access to it because they have not gotten the BVN. What banks supposed to do is to allow the process to continue unhindered and appeal to those who have not register to come and do so.’
Banks don’t have power to deny somebody access to his money without court order. I have not seen such. It has never happened because there are laws guiding customers and bankers’ relationship. No policy can over ride such law, unless you want to create chaos in the system”, he added.
In the same vein, a seasoned politician, Chief Pius Anajuba has called on the CBN to extend the deadline in the interest of Nigerians, especially those living in the rural areas that could not assess the urban areas easily.
He said: “I think the registration is something we should all embrace.
My experience was hectic and rough, but finally I registered. It took
me about four days to register.
I believe the thing should be extended to enable those in the rural areas to find their way to the cities and register.’
On the benefits of the policy, he said: “The Central Bank is under the control of federal government. If it is the wish of the government, then it means there is something beneficial about it. No matter how you look at it I think
the exercise should be a continuous one.