28 July 2015, Lagos – THE Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, may have suspended the ongoing pilot registration of Nigerians in Diaspora for the Biometric Verification Number, BVN, which deadline was shifted to October by the Central Bank of Nigeria last month.
Although no reason was given for the suspension, sources said it could not be unconnected with the outcry that followed the 30 Pounds Sterling charge imposed by NIBSS, as many considered it as an attempt to extort money from affected persons.
THE Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, had hired a London based firm to register and produce BVN for account holders among Nigerians in Diaspora in the bid to maximize the period of extension granted last month by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The NIBSS intended to use the London registration exercise as a pilot scheme, the success of which would determine its extension to other parts of the world with high concentration of Nigerians.
Authoritative sources said the NIBSS was using OIS facility in London and Leicester for the exercise and intended also to use the facility in other countries, after the pilot exercise.
The Central Bank extended the registration exercise till October, last month, following outcry that many Nigerians would be denied access to their account because of their failure to meet the June 1 deadline.
With the extension, many Nigerians have gone to sleep again thinking there is still time for them to register.
But the banks have started a subtle enforcement of the BVN registration exercise to avoid congestion and work load during the last days to the deadline as they experienced in May.
They now compel customers to go to BVN section to complete their registration before any other banking transaction.
At one of the branches of First Bank in Ikorodu, officials were seen directing customers to the BVN corner for registration before any other banking transaction, last week. In other banks, questions were subtly put to customers to know if they had already registered for BVN.
Some fraudulent Nigerians have taken the advantage of the extension to demonstrate their tendencies to defraud unsuspecting account holders, by sending messages directing them to click on a link to update and register for BVN.
But GT Bank has been sending advisory notes to its numerous customers, asking them not to honour such requests. The bank advised its customers to go physically to the bank where details of their account would be taken together with their fingerprints in order to register for BVN.
“BVN registration can only be carried out physically. So don’t honour any call or text messages that directs you to click on a link to update your BVN. And if you have already registered for your BVN in another Nigerian bank, you can link your BVN details to your GTB account via our Internet banking platform and our corporate website,” the bank said.
The CBN, which soft -pedaled on its June 30 deadline for banks account holders to be BVN compliant, said the exercise will be repeated every 10 years.
*David Ogah – Guardian