Posted by News Express | 30 June 2015 | 2,735 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “to subject Nigerian account holders to untold hardship because of the deadline unilaterally imposed on the so called Banks Verification Number (BVN).” HURIWA in a statement issued this afternoon in Abuja called for the registration to be permanent and seamless rather than been undertaken in a military fashion.
The group said the introduction of this new rule without consultation with customers of banks and the arbitrary decision to impose a deadline with consequences on how account holders can access their legitimate deposits is unconstitutional and amounts to abuse of authority. The rights group called on the CBN to make the registration open and continuous “for the simple logic that new account holders wouldn’t stop opening accounts with banks on June 30th, 2015.”
HURIWA noted that the imposition of deadline and restrictions on genuine account holders amounted to a deprivation of economic and social rights provided for and protected by both chapters two and four if the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and must be rescinded forthwith.
It insisted that “it is very unfair and indeed amounted to attempt by the CBN and the elites that control the banks to rob from the back doors hard earned deposits of the bank customers.” HURIWA called for protests by affected bank customers to be led by like-minded civil society organisations on Thursday, July 2. On the alternative, the rights group said it will open a public register so customers who are affected adversely by the deadline for BVN registration to look at possibilities of filing class action suits at the Federal High Courts “to be argued by lawyers on pro bono basis since majority of the bank customers to be deprived of their legitimate deposits are too poor to pay for hiring lawyers.”
HURIWA in the statement signed by the national Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko called on CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele “to either make the BVN registration a continuous exercise or be prepared to face an avalanche of class law suits and other civil disobedience strategies to be worked out by like-minded human rights activists all across Nigeria.”
According to the group, “The President must stop these broad day attempts by bank owners to rob poor depositors of their hard earned financial resources under the guise of BVN registration with a militarised deadline. In many countries of the world these arbitrary measures to steal and divert depositors’ money such as BVN registration with compulsory but unilateral deadlines are treated as a crime against humanity. If Nigeria insists on practicing democracy then all these autocratic measures carried out without people’s inputs and consents must be consigned to the dustbin of history.
“This attempt to steal our money must be overturned. What happens to many Nigerians who have money in Nigerian banks but who are outside Nigeria for different reasons throughout this imposed period for BVN registration? This is pure robbery and must be defeated in a similar way that law enforcement authorities seek to crush criminals. We have already received calls from such depositors who currently are abroad for genuine reasons.”
•Photo shows Emefiele.
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