Data from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Scheme showed that about 38.5 million bank accounts have been linked to the Bank Verification Number. There were 1.7 million new BVN registrations in the past five months, representing 31 percent of the total number of bank accounts, and 53 percent of the total number of active bank accounts, the latest NISS record show. The total number of bank accounts as of June this year was 122.37 million while the number of active bank accounts was 72.97 million. According to the data, about 29.28 million current accounts were opened by bank customers while savings accounts reached 89.77 million as of June this year. The CEO, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, Ronke Kuye, said that the facility planned to accelerate BVN enrolment to 70 million. Achieving this, the facility will simplify the enrolment by providing support to super-agents, banks and other stakeholders to acquire 500,000 agents in six geopolitical zones by 2020. However, she explained that it had prioritised the Northern region because of the presence of the highest number of financially excluded population in the region. She noted that a recent survey by EFINA on financial inclusion showed that 36.8 percent of 99.6 million adult population in the country was financially excluded as of December 2018.
Meanwhile, the CBN plans to introduce a new mechanism called the Global Standing Instruction which will work with the Bank Verification Number of depositors to detect bad borrowers who refuse to pay their loans but plan to take further loans from other unsuspecting banks. The Central Bank of Nigeria through the Bankers Committee and in collaboration with all the banks in Nigeria inaugurated a centralised biometric identification system for the banking industry in 2014.
MTN Nigeria says it had obtained a super-agent licence from the CBN through its subsidiary, Y’ello Digital Financial Services. The licence issued on Thursday will enable the telecom giant to join the league of financial technology companies accelerating financial inclusion programme of the CBN through an agent network. MTNN’s CEO, Ferdi Moolman, confirmed this in the company’s 2019 half-year interim financial report published on Friday. The company also said it would continue to work towards obtaining a Payment Service Banking licence it applied for in 2018. MTN said it invested ₦50 million in the Y’ello Digital Financial Services Limited in H1 2019, with respect to the minimum shareholding requirement stipulated by the CBN for a super-agent licence. Telecommunication firms in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile and nTel, had pledged to deepen financial inclusion in 30 months by collectively reaching 90 million Nigerians through the deployment of over one million airtime agents as mobile money agents. Some of the telecom operators are already offering mobile money services in collaboration with Deposit Money Banks but are now seeking to offer financial services independently. The Payment Service Banks, when approved by the CBN, would provide access to financial services such as deposits and savings, Peer-to-Peer payments, merchant payments and utility payments to the Nigerian population.
The FG has obtained a court order to proscribe the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, whose members have been demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenah. Justice Nkeonye Maha issued the order in a ruling in which she also designated the activities of the Shi’ite organisation in any part of Nigeria “as acts of terrorism and illegality.” The court restrained “any person or group of persons” from participating in any form of activities involving or concerning the IMN “under any name or platform” in Nigeria. The court, in completing the process of the group, has ordered the AGF “to publish the order proscribing the respondent, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in the official gazette and two national dailies.” Justice Maha gave the order following an ex parte application by the FG. The Shiites have for over two years been regularly taking to the streets to demand the release of their leader and his wife. The couple has been in the custody of the Department of State Services since December 2015 after a bloody clash between members of the group and soldiers in the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in Zaria, Kaduna State.