Nigerians express relief over BVN deadline extension

By Jennifer Ajimande June 30, 2015 19:47

Nigerians express relief over BVN deadline extension

Nigerians can finally heave a euphoric sigh of relief as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, resolved to extend the deadline of the Bank Verification Number, BVN to October 31, 2015 to help facilitate the smooth completion of the registration exercise.

This is coming against the backdrop of numerous complaints and protest for an extension by commercial bank customers across the nation.

The apex bank revealed this in a circular made available to journalists less than 24 hours to the proposed June 30 deadline.

Until the extension, over 14 million Nigerians who were yet to be captured risked being barred from access to regular bank services such as internet banking and the use of Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, to transact business.

Tuesday morning saw a bevy of activities at the banks around the Federal Capital Territory, FCT as customers besieged several banks premises as early as 7am to meet up with the deadline.

Post Nigeria visited banks in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to hear the thoughts of the customers and to ascertain if the banks had any plans to extend the deadline as so many Nigerians are unregistered.

During a visit to First City Monument Bank, FCMB, at Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja, it was observed that many customers turned out in their numbers in a last minute rush to beat the deadline.

They queued around banking premises as they blamed the snail-like process of the biometric exercise on lack of organization on the part of the bank officials.

A Corps Member and FCMB customer, Miss Temitope Balogun blamed her inability to be captured at the early stages of the exercise, on the failure of financial institutions to sensitize its customers on the importance of the exercise.

    “I heard about the BVN exercise recently but the importance was not explained to the general public until three day ago when I got an sms from the bank for the first time, informing me of the June 30th deadline.

    “The bank did not do their homework well, not until a few days ago when people started getting relevant information on the initiative.”

While explaining the reasons for the last minute rush, she however called for better sensitization and an extension in the deadline to enable millions of Nigerian yet to be captured participate in the exercise.

Another customer who pleaded anonymity concurred with Temitope on the deadline extension, adding that though he was aware of the exercise, he couldn’t come to the bank due to his busy schedule.

He however expressed concerns that the BVN initiative might be a ploy by the CBN to give customers personal information to law enforcement agencies in case of any law violation, stating categorically that many Nigerians shied away from the program because they weren’t aware of the importance of the exercise.

At Diamond Bank, Wuse 2, in Abuja a businessman, Mr. Chikason Ezekiel said that he was notified about the CBN initiative last month, adding that he had to postpone his registration on several attempts owing to the multitude in banks and his very busy schedule.

Ezekiel also alleged that lack of machinery to effectively conduct the exercise with ease was another cause for the delay in registration.

He said he had visited other banks to find officials using only two biometric machines to capture customers details, Nigerian don’t have the luxury of time to waste queuing in banks, he added.

    “The system is not well organized; I expect that these machines should have been made available in such a way that customers can get captured without stress. It will make it faster and easy for both customers and the bank officers.”