The House of Representatives has instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw its directive regarding the inclusion of social media handles as part of the ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) requirement for bank customers. This decision was made after Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) and a few others presented a motion during the plenary session in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Chinda, although the directive may seem commendable, it is unnecessary and could impose undue pressure on the Nigerian populace during this challenging period. He argued that the CBN’s directive contradicts Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which guarantees the right to privacy for citizens.
Chinda pointed out that banks in the country already possess the necessary information, such as names, telephone numbers, passport photographs, emails, National Identification Numbers (NIN), Biometric Verification Numbers (BVN), utility bills, and other basic requirements, to identify, verify, and monitor customers. He suggested that there are more effective methods for monitoring money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing, such as utilizing the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), intelligence agencies, and crime tracking agencies.
Chinda expressed concerns that if the directive were implemented, Nigerians who are not active on social media but have substantial business turnovers would be forced to join or might be excluded from the formal banking system. He emphasized the negative consequences and implications that would arise from this.
The house unanimously adopted the motion, highlighting the importance of reviewing and rescinding the CBN directive to alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians. The Committee on Banking and Currency (once formed) was tasked with investigating the matter and providing a report within three weeks for further legislative action. Additionally, the Committee on Legislative Compliance (once formed) was mandated to ensure the implementation of the resolution.