Contrary to their recent stance, the Central Bank of Nigeria has finally yielded to calls from different quarters to have the deadline for the Bank Verification Exercise (BVN) Registration extended.
Reports reaching Buzznigeria indicates that the deadline for the exercise has been shifted by the CBN to 31st of October, 2015.
In a circular signed by CBN’s Director for Banking and Payments System Department, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, CBN stated that the reason for the extension is to de-congest the number of person clustering in banking halls across the country and also to give the nationals in diaspora “ample time” to get their accounts within the country registered also.
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See the official circular to all deposit banks in the country:
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It should be recalled that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had earlier insisted that there will be no extension of the original deadline for the BVN registration exercise, leading many to question what will happen to the bank accounts of the numerous bank customers who have not acquired their own BVN.
In many quarters, the CBN has also been criticized for the lack of awareness and education on what the benefits or advantages of having the BVN are, especially to the semi-literate and illiterate Nigerians, who live mostly in the rural areas. The nation’s apex bank seems to have relied chiefly on the internet, newspapers, and social media platforms to inform Nigerians about the exercise, which did little to educate them, as most of them do not have access to these platforms and those who do, mistook the information for a call to update their account information (Know Your Customer), which they must have done at one time or the other in the past. Consistent advertisement on electronic media such as radio and television, which should run in English, pidgin and vernacular would have surely been a better way of reaching the entire populace.
Banks on the other hand, did very little to help their customers get the needed enlightenment as per the importance of the exercise and the actual consequence of not doing it. Rather, they let people believe their accounts will be permanently closed by the deadline. Some sent text messages (SMS) to their customers phones – messages which many people misconstrued for the handiwork of fraudsters and deleted immediately for fear of being victims.
Surely, all these necessitated the CBN’s decision to go soft on their initial stance and hopefully, come 31 October, every Nigerian bank account holder, including those in the diaspora, should have gotten their BVN and there wouldn’t be the need for another extension.