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House of Representatives Instructs CBN to Eliminate Social Media Handles Requirement for Bank Customers

The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop its directive on the addition of social media handles as part of the `Know Your Customer’ (KYC) requirement for bank customers.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) and a few others at plenary in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said as laudable as the directive might appear, it would be unnecessary as it was likely to bear pressure on teeming Nigerian masses at this trying period.

He said the directive by the CBN was in conflict with the provision of Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 on the right to privacy of citizens.

He said banks in the country already had the names, telephone numbers, passport photographs, emails, National Identification Numbers (NIN), Biometric Verification Numbers (BVN), utility bills and other basic requirements to identify, know and monitor customers.

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He said there were better means of monitoring money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, such as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Others include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), intelligence and crime tracking agencies, amongst others.

He said if the directive took effect, Nigerians who were not on social media, with large turnovers from their businesses and trades, would be compelled to or systematically excluded from formal banking systems.

Chinda added that this would come with its attendant negative effects and implications.

He expressed worry about the untold hardships the directive would cause millions of Nigerians, especially the illiterate, or semi-literate business owners, traders and entrepreneurs living in the villages.

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According to him, implementing the CBN’s directive at this point may clearly be unnecessary as it is likely to bear a lot of pressure on the teeming Nigerian masses.

Adopting the motion, the house stressed the need to revisit and halt the Central Bank of Nigeria directive to reduce the hardship and pain faced by Nigerians.

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

The house also mandated the Committee on Legislative Compliance (when constituted) to ensure implementation.

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