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.
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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