The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to close millions of bank accounts across various financial institutions that are not linked to a Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Blaise Ijebor, the CBN director of the Risk Management Department and Chief Risk Officer, who disclosed the plan at the Prembly Compliance Breakfast Dialogue on Thursday April 6, said the objective is to clean up the sector and reduce the growing incidence of fraud.
The BVN is a unique identifier that captures the biometric data of bank customers and is used to verify their identities and prevent fraudulent activities.
Analysis of the NIBSS website indicated that there were only 57.01 million registered BVN numbers out of the total 191.4 million bank accounts in the country, with 133.5 million active.
CBN’s Ijebor further detailed the importance of closing bank accounts without BVN and highlighted three areas where cybercriminals are exploiting vulnerabilities.
This account is dominated by digital banks or fintech firms, and often lacks BVN linkage, which makes it an easy entry point for hackers.