NOVEMBER 28, 2016 – Bank Verification Number (BVN) policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have revealed over one million bank accounts that have been abandoned by those who illegally acquired their wealth.
According to findings, as the CBN fully enforces the BVN policy, some corrupt public officials and other fraudulent Nigerians, as well as organisations, abandoned their questionable accounts in most of the country’s commercial banks.
This is coming as the latest industry statistics from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, indicated that 30.26 million accounts have become dormant as at October this year.
Though, the growing number of dormant accounts may not all be linked to dubious depositors but confirmed sources said that the BVN launched February 14, 2014 has begun to yield results.
According to CBN insider, some billions of Naira and millions of other foreign currencies are trapped in some banks’ accounts which owners suddenly stopped operating.
It is believed that the owners of such accounts, who may have been operating several accounts in different banks with fictitious names and signatures, became scared of security operatives who could easily fish them out with a single BVN covering all banks, connected to the CBN database.
It was also discovered that money laundering through the banks has reduced with the BVN system while sudden huge deposits into accounts of people whose means of livelihood were not clear have also reduced.
Uche Onyeagucha, member of the House of Representatives, recently said that BVN had done a lot to curb corruption in the country.
Onyeagucha, while urging the Federal Government to introduce Property Verification Number (PVN), equally disclosed that some officials had used the avenue of budgetary allocation for ecological funds to siphon money from the system, challenging the civil society to monitor the fund, as it was a case of direct ac
Also, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, acting director, Corporate Affairs of the CBN, was also recently quoted as saying that the BVN policy had injected some sanity into the banking industry in the country.
He said through a text message that “the BVN was essentially introduced to give everyone in the financial services sector a unique identity that can neither be stolen nor swapped. It has helped to tackle identity theft and ensured that fraudsters do not have a field day anymore. It has also helped to curb illegal financial flow.”
The CBN, in an earlier statement about the policy, said that it is part of security measures to safeguard the financial sector.
The statement read in part: “With the increasing incidents of compromise on conventional security systems (password and PIN), there is a high demand for greater security for access to sensitive or personal information in the banking system.
“Biometric technologies have been used to analyse human characteristics as an enhanced form of authentication for real-time security processes.
According to the CBN, some of the benefits include: unique identity that can be verified across the Nigerian Banking Industry (not peculiar to one bank); Customers’ Bank Accounts are protected from unauthorized access; it will address issues of identity theft, thus reducing exposure to fraud, enhance the Banking Industry’s chance of being able to fish out blacklisted customers, among others.