Starting from April 2024, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will freeze commercial bank accounts that do not have Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) or National Identification Numbers (NIN) attached to them.

This information was disclosed in a circular released by the CBN on Friday.

The said circular instructs commercial banks to place a “Post no Debit” restriction – which prevents customers from making withdrawals, transfers, or any other debits “for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN”.

It was further stated in the circular, that, “Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied. Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ and no further transactions permitted,” the circular issued by the CBN Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, emphasised.

It also said all BVN or NIN attached to accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

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According to the bank, a BVN or NIN verification will be “conducted shortly”.

The statement added that the move was geared at promoting financial system stability and strengthening the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions.

The CBN will further conduct a “comprehensive BVN and NIN audit shortly” and where breaches are identified, appropriate sanctions shall be applied.

“The process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN-related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers, and all existing customer accounts/wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled in the NIBSS’ ICAD immediately and within 24hrs of opening accounts/wallets,” it was stated.

In cases where a potential customer does not have a BVN or NIN, the CBN however, directs the regulated financial institution to “commence the process of enrolling the individual onto the BVN database and be guided by the extant protocols issued by NIBSS”.