The need for both financial accountability and monetary identity in the present day Nigeria cannot be overemphasized to curb the cancerous growth of the menace of financial misappropriation and corruption, a battle this government of restoration has been fighting even before the mantle of leadership.
This drive for sanity and tranquillity in the country’s financial identification system led to the introduction of the Bank Verification Number BVN which mandates all citizens and persons running any Bank account in the country to have a biometric registration, aiding digital banking and better managed and synergetic banking system.
The development was welcomed by all and sundry with next to no obligation by Nigerians both at home and diaspora with open arms, indeed it is a sign of progress as promised.
We must commend the efforts of the government on this and particularly for its understanding of citizens in diaspora. However, the recent circular as was passed and brought to the listening audience spurs much concern, most particularly among citizens in diaspora, amidst which Spain is at the leading front;
“I wish to bring to the attention of all of us, particularly those living outside Nigeria that the Federal Government instituted an action in court for the forfeiture of any balance in a bank account without a BVN.
An interim order of forfeiture was granted by the court on the 17th Oct for the banks to show cause within 14days why the balances in such accounts should not be forfeited.
The present practice is that banks only permit deposits into such accounts. No withdrawal is allowed. Should the Fed Government succeed, the money is forfeited permanently.
Although the banks may challenge the action up to the Supreme Court, my advice is for anyone who has not registered for the BVN to urgently take steps to do so.”
Spain records the second highest immigrants of Nigeria among its contemporaries. With this realization, it is rather disheartening than sad to know that while many European countries are provided with BVN Registration units, the country Spain was totally omitted.
Nigerians in Spain and some more other countries are not availed the opportunity to register, this error is worth a re-look and immediate intervention as it has raised an outcry excruciating feelings.
Forfeiture of accounts without a chance of registering would be injurious on hardworking Nigerians abroad who are not just there to earn a living but also existing daily as an image and ambassador of Nigeria to their respective host countries.
The government should take cognisance of these people who are ably representing their fatherland while laying their treasures in their home banks with the aim of returning home to establish an investment, which of course would be from the advanced understanding they have gained from developed nations, an advantage that will generate more employment opportunities, bring developed methods and modern day brands and also close up the widened gap between us and the so-called developed nations.
Speaking for every Nigerian in Spain and other affected countries, the Spain Chapter of the All Progressive Congress through this channel want to appeal in good conscience and for the sakes of development, to the government of Nigeria, commissions and ministries involved in the process of BVN registration to quickly revert or better still reconsider all countries not covered by the registration process.
To this effect, banks should see such active accounts as unregistered rather than unattended.
We recommend that Spain and every other country as would be affected by this policy, should be provided with registration ports before taking steps on forfeiture of unregistered accounts. This will save our investments at home, ensure our confidence abroad and give us hope of livelihood when back to our dear Nigeria.
Amb. Stephen Ade Tella.
Chairman, APC Spain Chapter.
Convener, A New Nigeria project.