- Poor linkage responsible – Experts
Hundreds of bank depositors, who have their biometric verification numbers, still do not have access to their accounts. The development contradicts the claims of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as financial institutions that only defiant depositors’ accounts will be suspended.
A customer of Skye Bank and GTBank, based in Makurdi, Benue State, John Azubike, was shocked when he found that he couldn’t access his account with the banks. He approached an Automated Teller Machine, to withdraw money but was dismayed when he realised that his account had been suspended. According to him, the BVN project has failed because he enrolled for the exercise at a Skye Bank branch in Makurdi and submitted the BVN form at a GTBank branch for the accounts to be linked after 48 hours.
“The initiative is great and timely but the process and execution is frustrating. How can I have a BVN and yet my accounts were suspended?” he said. The cases of Emmanuel Aderibigbe and Charity Mustapha, customers of GTBank and UBA respectively, differ from that of Azubike. Unlike the latter, who has two accounts, the duo have one account each with the banks. Despite the fact that they have their BVNs, their accounts were suspended.
“I believe it was an error from the bank and the most painful thing is that the bank has failed to acknowledge that or apologise for its carelessness,” he said.
‘WE DIDN’T MAKE MISTAKES’
Contrary to the claims of the depositors, spokespersons of UBA and GTBank, told The Point that their financial institutions couldn’t have suspended the accounts of customers that had BVNs. For instance, Head, Corporate Communications, UBA, Ramon Olanrewaju, said no account could be erroneously suspended because the exercise was done professionally. He attributed the experiences of the customers to incomplete enrolment on their part. According to him, the bank may suspend access to a depositor’s account if it detects fraud.
“It is expected that any affected customer should report to any branch of the bank concerned so as to forestall any acts of fraud on the part of anybody,” he told The Point. Like Olanrewaju, Meksley Nwagboh of the Corporate Affairs Department of GTBank, urged Aderibigbe and Azubike to report their cases to any branch of the bank for it to be resolved “within a few minutes.”
According to him, the restrictions will be lifted immediately the customers’ BVN enrolment has been confirmed. “Though those affected will not be able to withdraw money from their accounts, transfers can still be made to the accounts. This restriction is temporary until the customer does what is expected of him. The BVN registration is still ongoing and it can be done on the ATM or through Internet banking,” he said.