The Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has appealed to both the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to put modalities in place for Nigerians in the Diaspora to obtain their own Bank Verification Number (BVN) to avoid forfeiture of their savings in their respective bank accounts.
Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Assistant on Media to Dabiri-Erewa said in a statement issued on Tuesday, that the appeal became imperative due to an interim order of forfeiture granted by a Federal High Court last week in Abuja.
The court had ordered 19 commercial the banks to show cause within 14 days why the balances in such accounts should not be forfeited.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on Oct. 17, granted the interim order, directing banks to file an affidavit of disclosure before the court, stating the names of the accounts as operated, account numbers and outstanding balances.
Reacting to the court order, the Presidential aide urged the CBN to make it possible for all Nigerians in the Diaspora to have their BVN done in their countries of abode as there have been challenges in getting it before now.
“I hereby appeal to the CBN to look into the challenges the Nigerians living abroad face in getting their BVN done and extend the deadline for them to get the BVN done,” Dabiri-Erewa pleaded.
The SSA also pleaded with the banks to make the procedure easier for their customers, especially those living outside the country, to be able to meet up with the new deadline.
“This is why the Attorney-General of the Federation should intervene in this matter to assist our Nigerians living abroad, who are at disadvantaged by allowing them more time to comply with the BVN directive”, Dabiri-Erewa said.
The present practice is that banks only permit deposits into such accounts. No withdrawal is allowed.
Should the Federal Government succeed, the money is forfeited permanently.
Although the banks may challenge the action up to the Supreme Court, Dabiri-Erewa reiterated her appeals to Nigerians abroad to urgently take steps to register for the BVN.
According to the SSA, Nigerians in the Diaspora have been remitting billions of US Dollars back to the country on yearly basis, the highest on the continent of Africa, thus contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
By our correspondent.