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Reps Urge CBN To Halt Implementation On Addition of Social Media Handle on “KYC”Requirements



By Linda Ike

The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to suspend the implementation of the policy/directive on Addition of Social Media Handle on “Know your Customer” Requirement.

This followed a motion sponsored by nine lawmakers, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, Hon. Laori Kwamati, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, Hon. Ginger Onwusibe, Hon. Mark Essiet, Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki, Hon. Victor Ogbuzor, Hon. Blessing Amadi and Hon. Fred Agbedi, during plenary on Tuesday.

Presenting the motion, Kelechi Nwogu noted that the recent directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Commercial Banks on the addition to social media handles on “know Your Customer” requirements, thus making it mandatory for Commercial Banks to comply.

Nwogu further said that recently, the CBN released its Customer Due Diligence Regulations, 2023 and stated that the importance of social media handles on “Know Your Customer” would galvanize compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing provisions.

The lawmaker stated that obtaining the additional information, would be useful to financial institutions in accessing customers’ online presence and activities, thus enabling better assessment of potential risks associated with money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.

He observed that as laudable as this directive may appear, it may be unnecessary as it is likely to bear pressure on teeming Nigerian masses at this trying period.

The Lawmakers expressed concern about the untold hardships this directive will cause millions of Nigerians, especially the illiterates, or semi-literate business owners, traders and entrepreneurs living in the villages and rural areas who do not have social media handles.

They are concerned that it is unnecessary to implement the CBN’s directive at this point as it is likely
to bear a lot pressure on teeming Nigerian masses.

The motion reads, “Cognizant of the fact that this directive by the CBN is in conflict with the provision of Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) on the right to privacy of Citizens;

“Also cognizant of the fact that banks in the country already have the names, telephone numbers, passport
photographs, emails, National Identification Number (NIN), Biometric Verification Number (BVN), utility bills and other basic requirements with which to identify, know and monitor customers

“Further cognizant that there are better means of monitoring money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, such as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), intelligence and crime tracking
agencies, amongst others;

“Worried that if the directive takes effect, Nigerians who are not on social media, with large turn overs from their businesses and trades, would be compelled to or systematically excluded from formal banking systems with its attendant negative effects and implications”.

The House unanimously adopted the motion and mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency (when constituted) to investigate the matter and report back to the house within three weeks for further legislative action.

The House also mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance (when constituted) to compliance.

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