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Deposit Money Banks on Friday began compilation of
customers’ accounts without Bank Verification Numbers.

The lists, according to bank executives, are being prepared
for onward transfer to the Federal Government through the Central Bank of
Nigeria.
Top bank officials said barring any last minute change of
the course of the ongoing matter, the list might be published in newspapers in
line with a recent court ruling.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had on October 17, ordered
the Central Bank of Nigeria and the 19 commercial banks in the country, to
disclose all accounts in their custody and the balances in such accounts.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the order upon an ex parte motion
filed on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Attorney General of
the Federation.
The court ordered the banks to disclose the details of all
such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance
deposed to by their Chief Compliance Officers.
It also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze
all the said accounts by stopping “ all
outward payments, operations or transactions ,”
pending the hearing of the
substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts
to the Federal Government.
The banks were also directed to disclose “any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in
any products.”
Such investments to be disclosed by the banks, as directed
by the court, include “fixed/term
deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances,
commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction
made on the accounts.”
The court also directed the CBN and the Nigeria Inter-Bank
Settlement System PLC “to validate the
information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the
respective 19 banks”
within seven days from the date of service of the
orders on them.


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Named as defendants are Access Bank PLC, Citibank Nigeria,
Diamond Bank PLC, Ecobank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank of Nigeria PLC, First Bank of
Nigeria, First City Monument Bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC and Heritage
Bank PLC.
Other banks are Keystone Bank, Skye Bank PLC, Stanbic IBTC
Bank PLC, Union Bank of Nigeria PLC, United Bank for Africa PLC, Unity Bank
PLC, Wema Bank PLC, Zenith Bank PLC and the CBN.
Following the expiration of the November 3 deadline on
Friday, banks started compiling the list of accounts without BVN.
The lenders were, however, not specific on what they wanted
to do with the list.
The spokesperson for First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Babatunde
Lasaki, said, “The bank will do what
needs to be done on the BVN matter and we will comply with all regulatory
requirements on the matter.”
A UBA spokesman, Mr. Nasir Ramon, promised to provide the
bank’s position later.
Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, FCMB, among others could not
immediately provide a response.
Skye Bank spokesman, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa, also said the
lender would comply.
Industry analysts said there was a need to give more time
for every Nigerian or member of the banking public to obtain the BVN.
A banking sector analyst, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the CBN
and banks needed to take the campaign to rural dwellers and every part of the
country in local languages to enable every Nigerian to obtain the BVN.
He said he agreed with the need to freeze the accounts.
However, on forfeiture of accounts, he said that could not happen soon.
The court will decide on whether customers will forfeit
their deposits on November 16.

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