SERAP to CBN: ‘Withdraw regulations on customers’ social media handles or face legal action’



Uba Group

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has urged the Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Folashodun Shonubi, to “immediately delete the patently unlawful provisions in the Central Bank of Nigeria (Customer Due Diligence) Regulations directing banks to obtain information on customers’ social media handles for the purpose of identification.”

SERAP also urged him to “withdraw the Circular number FPR/DIR/PUB/CIR/007/076 of 20 June 2023 mandating banks and other financial institutions to implement and comply with the unlawful mandatory provisions on customers’ social media handles in the CBN Regulations.”

According to Section 6 (a)(iv) of the CBN Regulations, banks and other financial institutions “shall identify their customer and obtain information on the social media handle of the customer.” Section 6(b)(iii) contains similar provision.

In the letter dated 24 June 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The CBN Regulations and directive to banks to obtain details of customers’ social media address violate Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy. It is inconsistent and incompatible with the rule of law.”

SERAP said, “The CBN ought to contribute to the advancement of respect for the rule of law and human rights in the discharge of its statutory functions, and not undermine or violate these fundamental legal requirements and standards.”

According to SERAP, “The purported mandatory requirement would inhibit Nigerians from freely exercising their human rights online. If obtained, such information may also be misused for political and other unlawful purposes.”