Stella Dimoko Tension Over Accounts Without BVN Owned By Nigerians In The Diaspora


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Monday, October 30, 2017

Tension Over Accounts Without BVN Owned By Nigerians In The Diaspora

The decision by the Federal Government to stop commercial banks from operating accounts without Biometric Verification Number (BVN) continues to pitch the citizenry against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Buhari administration.

 The bone of contention is the forfeiture threat on account holders should they fail to update and register the BVN within two weeks.

Frowning at such decision, the Director General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf , said there was need to question the policy that puts a time frame on the registration for the Diaspora Nigerians as it is not consistent with the letters and spirit of human rights.

He said, “The idea behind BVN is to go after illicit funds, but CBN should be discreet about this to know which funds come under it and which does not. There is need for financial inclusion, we have sincere Nigerians who are earning their money through hard work. Those ones cannot be denied access to their money because of BVN registration. CBN cannot say because they’ve not done BVN, should forfeit their money.”

The Director General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, (NECA) Olusegun Oshinowo, said though it should not be expected that the exercise should have an indefinite time, at the same time, there should not be an unusual hurry to bring it to an end given the implications of such an action on the generality of Nigerians.

Some Nigerians in the Diaspora,sounded out on the issue described the move, described it as wicked and insensitive. While others even complained of difficulties in moving to where the BVN capture centres are located.

For instance, Mr Uyime Akpan, who resides in Milan, Italy, branded the policy as “wicked and insensitive to the feelings of Nigerians overseas.”

“I know of hardworking men and women, who have opened accounts back home and keep sending dollars and have them changed into naira to fund project, particularly buildings. Some also keep these monies as savings in case they visit home. I know of some Nigerians in this country (Italy) who are serving jail terms and have been constrained to participate in the BVN registration. The government should protect the weak, the poor, and the struggling citizens. For anyone to thoughtlessly order a forfeiture of these hard earned monies is nothing but sheer wickedness,” Akpan added.

Another Nigerian resident in New York who gave his name as Dr. Eno-Obong told Daily Sun that if the policy is allowed to stand, thousands of Nigerians in the USA would lose their monies. He described the US as very large with Nigerians scattered all over the country and pointed out that some of the US states had only one point where the BVN could be captured, which constituted a major hindrance to those who wished to get their BVN.

“The banks know those that are fraudulent. Those who steal government money are certainly not those with little savings deposited in banks. At least, the law demands that amounts exceeding N1million and N10million deposited by anyone should be reported to the EFCC. And this means those persons can be traced and questioned. It’s foolishness to punish someone who has a Nigerian bank account and lives in San Antonio in Texas and has not been able to travel to Houston to get his BVN. I think the government has to re-think its decision on this. More time is required and a new deadline has to be set. You cannot punish the innocent saver of money in a bank with the thief; that negates the essence of banking,” Eno-Obong warned.

Expressing her disappointment in the BVN Scheme, a subscriber, Mrs. Folasade Ayakwo, who resides in Dallas, Texas, said the arrangement is too cumbersome and may not achieve the intended purpose.

She said the State of Texas, which is almost the size of Nigeria, has only one BVN enrollment center located in the Bisssonet area in Houston.

She said the inability of the agent appointed to decentralise the enrolment centres across Texas has made the process problematic as Nigerian account holders have to travel long distances to get the BVN done.

“This is US where people are conscious of time. To get enrolled on the BVN takes almost a whole day. For me, I have to travel for about four hours from Dallas to Houston. And on getting here, the queue was just too long. When it got to my turn, they said the system was down. I waited for another two hours for the system to come up. I lost that day’s pay at work, and had to pay additional charges for the steward taking care of my baby. But thank God, I was able to get it done

Although, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, the Managing Director of Cowry Assets Management Limited, does not buy the arguments of the Nigerian Diaspora on the BVN, he, however, faults the forfeiture clause in the interim order:

Trouble for non-BVN account owners started on October 17 this year, when Justice Nnamdi Dimgba ruled on an ex-parte motion filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, where he slammed a restraint order on commercial banks to desist from operating such ‘ghost’ accounts.


  1. Na wa. I pray this is sorted out. Cant imagine losing my money because of this

  2. This bvn is not backed by any law and this action is not legal. We should try and speak out. On legal grounds Govt has no right to tell bank's to comply. Me non of these affect me but I'm just making sure you all understand that govt is wrong on this matter

  3. Forget which money? CBN una dey mad!!! All my life savings is in Nigeria bank so bcos i dont av bvn i should lose my money? Only 4 states have offices for bvn verification in the united states. It makes it very difficult to get it done.


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