By Monday, the 14-day ultimatum given to banks to publish accounts without banks verification number (BVN), would have elapsed.
On October 17, Nnamdi Dimgba, a judge of the federal court, Abuja, issued an order that funds in accounts without BVN would be transferred to the federal government.
Owners of such accounts were given a grace of two weeks to show cause why the money should not be forfeited to the government.
Nineteen banks across the country had been listed as defendants in the order.
“That the 1st-19th defendants shall disclose a) the names of the accounts as operated, b) account numbers, c) account balances d) domiciliary accounts, e) the branch/location where the accounts are domiciled of all accounts without BVN,” the order read.
“That an order is hereby made freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bit of exchange) in respect to the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.
“An interim order of forfeiture to the monies in the said accounts without BVN to the claimants being accounts with insufficient Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines contrary to Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and CBN guidelines pending the determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.
“That an interim order is herey made granting leave to the applicants or any officer authorized by them to advertise the accounts without BVN disclosed by the banks in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to any person or body corporate or financial institution who may have any interest in any of the said accounts to claim ownership of same within 14 days of the publication of the order and show cause why the proceeds in the account should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria.”
However, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), which were supposed to verify the data provided by the banks have been silent on the issue.
Ebun Olu-Adegboruwa, human rights lawyer, had described the court order as illegal, saying the BVN is a policy decision that is not “backed by law”.
CBN introduced BVN policy in February 2014 “to curb fraud and theft”. All bank customers are expected to register for the identification number and link it to their accounts.
In December 2016, TheCable reported that 46 million accounts were without BVN.