Nigerian govt takes ownership of funds held in bank accounts not linked to BVNs

A banking hall [Photo credit: Nigerian Times]
A banking hall [Photo credit: Nigerian Times]

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has granted a request by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for a temporary forfeiture of all funds held in bank accounts not linked to BVNs — and whose ownership could not be absolutely identified.

Also to be seized by the Nigerian government are funds held in bank accounts without sufficient know-your-customer credentials, court documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES said.

Industry experts expressed strong reservations about a lack of specific legal framework for the unprecedented forfeitures and potential coercion of banks by the federal authorities in separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES Saturday.

No estimates were immediately available, but it is widely held that billions of naira remained trapped in the unlinked bank accounts since 2015 when the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered commercial banks to stop attending to new enrollees.

The order followed an originating motion of notice filed by Mr. Malami on behalf of the Nigerian government on September 28.

Nnamdi Dimgba, the Federal High Court judge who presided over the ex-parte motion, granted all the nine reliefs sought by Mr. Malami —himself represented by a lawyer, Usman Dakas— on October 17.

The court ordered all the 19 deposit money banks, DMBs, operating in the country to release to Nigerian government names of accounts not yet connected to BVN; account numbers; their outstanding balances; domiciling locations; and domiciliary accounts without BVN and where they are domiciled.

Nigeria deposit money banks that were listed as respondents in the ex-parte suit are: Access Bank, Citi Bank, Diamond Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank and First City Monument Bank.

Others are: Guarantee Trust Bank, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, Skye Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank, Union Bank and United Bank for Africa.

The remaining three are: Unity, Bank Wema Bank and Zenith Bank.

The court also ordered all of them to disclose any investments made with funds and to withhold authorisation for any outward inflow of funds from the accounts. All the details are to be submitted to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, and the CBN for authentication.

The banks were also directed to publish all bank accounts not linked to BVN in national newspapers with a 14-day notice for individuals with interest in such accounts to come forward and justify why their funds should not be forfeited to the Nigerian government.

Mr. Dimgba also ordered the CBN, which was joined as 20th respondent alongside the 19 DMBs, to appoint an official who will examine all the details submitted to the apex bank for compliance.

The government argued the matter under Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011.

The section said banks must “ensure that documents, data or information collected under the customer due diligence process is kept up-to-date and relevant by undertaking reviews of existing records, particularly for higher risk categories of customers or business relationships.”

The BVN is a unique identification number that can be verified and used to transact business across all the banking platforms in Nigeria.

The CBN imposed the policy to capture customers’ data for financial transactions and check fraud in the banking system.

Registration for BVNs commenced on February 14, 2014, across the country. The CBN said over 20.8 million customers enrolled 40 million bank accounts before the October 31, 2015, final deadline for customers residing within the country.

The CBN extended the deadline for Nigerians in the diaspora to December 2016 to sign up for the BVN system. But hundreds of thousands home and abroad are still believed to be left behind.

Illogical, hasty

A financial analyst who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES about the court order rebuked the Nigerian government for attempting to shore up its revenues by forcibly seizing funds owned by private individuals.

“There’s no basis for this desperate move by the federal government because customers who owned the funds met the required criteria at the time they set up their bank accounts,” said Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, a Lagos-based financial analyst. “This is an attempt to use federal might to coerce banks into submitting funds that belong to customers for its own use.”

The Nigerian government had fallen on hard times since 2014 when dwindling price of crude oil began to take its toll on the country’s revenues.

The Buhari administration, which assumed office in May 2015, has made concerted pushes to source funding to finance a bloated federal civil service and new capital projects, including borrowing from local and international markets.

The government also said it would rely on recovered loot to finance its budget this year.

While Mr. Obi-Chukwu recognised financial challenges confronting the administration, he maintained that no policy must be implemented by fiat in a democratic system.

“The Money Laundering Act they used to sway the judge is clearly not sufficient to confiscate personal funds,” he said. “There’s no law that allows for this specific action taken by the government as it stands.”

He advised the federal government to allow people to withdraw their funds from the bank accounts if they’re not willing to link them to BVN, especially since they weren’t identified as proceeds of crime.

Lawyers weigh in

Two legal practitioners interviewed by PREMIUM TIMES Saturday held slightly disparate views on the matter.

Liborous Oshoma, who runs a law firm in Lagos, condemned the order as “far-reaching and despotic” in nature.

“You can’t just drag banks to court and ask them to submit all funds in bank accounts which they’re holding in trust for private individuals,” Mr. Oshoma said.

“The funds are mostly personal deposits. In law, orders are supposed to be specific, directed and enforceable against individuals or institutions,” Mr. Oshoma said. “But we cannot see how the government assumed it could sue banks to enforce orders against individuals who have not been accused of any criminal offences.”

Mr. Oshoma said the Buhari administration did not fathom the possibilities of Nigerians who are serving long prison sentences abroad and may not be in tune with developments in the outside world.

“The despotic tendency of wanting to take what does not belong to them made them forget that people might be in conditions where they cannot come and claim their funds for the next 20 years or more,” Mr. Oshoma said.

“If the government is really desperate to get people’s money because they cannot be found, it should find sensible means of going about it and not resort to steps that are not in consonance with democracy,” he added.

Although he questioned the legal premise of the federal government’s attempt to seize the funds, Inibehe Effiong, also a Lagos-based lawyer, told PREMIUM TIMES the overarching goal of the move was understandable.

“The BVN is a policy of the federal government which is aimed at mitigating financial crimes in the system,” Mr. Effiong said. “The policy was backed by certain financial regulations which make it appropriate for the government to ask for a general freezing order of accounts whose owners cannot be ascertained.”

“But what I cannot understand is the legal structure upon which the policy is standing,” Mr. Effiong said.

Mr. Effiong said authorities should have sought details of bank accounts first, then examine them individually and isolate ones with suspicious traits.

“The government should have stopped at requesting for details of all the bank accounts. but not go as far as getting a blanket approval to withhold all funds.

“If they all the accounts based on their merits, they can sort out the ones with criminal traces and seek their forfeiture,” Mr. Effiong said.


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  • tundemash

    The banks were also directed to publish all bank accounts not linked to BVN in national newspapers with a 14-day notice for individuals with interest in such accounts to come forward and justify why their funds should not be forfeited to the Nigerian government.

    – All these Charge&Bail lawyers should advise their rogue customers to go and claim their loot !

    • Usher- Join The Revolution

      Haha…

      • Kallah Bature

        Phew!!!!.The day of reckoning is finally here.

    • Gary

      Just 14 days notice to account holders spread around the world to come forward to stake their claim? That sounds reasonable only to a moron who assumes that all those concerned reside in Abuja or Lagos.
      Is the customers or the banks that should take responsibility for contacting their account holders at the address and information provided in opening the accounts.
      Why do we do act half-assed in Nigeria?

      • Emeka

        You might as well be the stupidest moron on earth for vomiting such meaningless opinions tilted with unintelligent criminal inclinations. This policy was announced over three years ago, and the man who claimed to be in prison or dinning with the devil, if he so wishes, like the halfbaked lawyer claimed or suggested, ought to have asked for his money prior to this time. Oh! thieves and looters like you are waiting and praying seriously for Buhari to leave the government so as to recover your looted spoils, you lie!! The money would be confiscated, and anytime you want the money, go to court, and if your reasons are genuine, government would have your funds returned back, with apology letter.

        My own account was blocked, for just a minor error of “sex status,” even though I had long registered for my BVN before then, I hurriedly went to my bank with what we call in Igbo dialect “Iwe na Onuma” and they unfreezed my account with apologies. They claimed my sex status wasn’t correct, of which the fault was entirely theirs. No one whose hard earned money would be flagged or had any knowledge of having it flagged would wait for a second to bust the bank and have his account unfrozen. By the time we finish with you thieves, you would know you thieves are unskilled criminals. No place to hide anymore. The Federal government didn’t use executive powers, but rather went through a legal process by a court of competent jurisdiction, so if you disagree with the judgement, you know what to do, just seek the help of a higher court to set aside the lower court’s judgement, and anything contrary to this, remains null and void. I advise you stop blabbing and atone for your sins.

        • Holy truth

          Ur post is so interesting I enjoyed it 4rm d beginning to d end. D most interesting & funniest part of ur post was where u described d thieves as “unskilled criminals”. Oga u too funny o, I bursted into laughter when I got to dat part of ur post. U made my day Bro.

        • Deovolente

          Most people that have bank accounts are not criminals. Rather they hard working innocent folks. So what point are you trying to make?

          • Powerlessconscious

            Since 2015, introduction of bvn has blocked all the non-linked account. What have you be doing since that time not unblock your account? That prove that accounts have not been functioning since 2015. What have you be doing I ask you again?

          • Deovolente

            None of your business boy’o. Even if its 100 naira, it’s still my money not yours or anybody else to stick their fingers, so burger off.

          • Powerlessconscious

            So you don’t like to obey a simple law that check fraud since 2years? But Nigerians obey laws abroad

          • Deovolente

            All I have in my Nigerian bank is just a small minimum balance, so I simply cannot afford to spend lots of money flying about to go and fill a so-called bvn form. Let them check those accounts with billions and leave innocent people’s accounts alone.

          • Tola

            You should have complained when GEJ signed the money laundering act. Any asset the authorities reasonably believe to be product of corruption and the owner doesn’t come forward to claim, they can apply for its forfeiture. It could be houses, cars cash, or bank accounts. You don’t sign law with the intention not to implement it. They have given a window for owners to make claims, otherwise, in line with the law, it will be forfeited.

          • Deovolente

            So my little minimum balance of a few hundred naira will be spirited away from my Nigerian account to help them pay the salaries of senators who have been collecting millions every month. That’s very logical and considerate of them. Anyway, let them target accounts with billions and millions, and leave small balances like mine alone. The money is not even enough to refill my car tank over here, but it’s still mine.

          • Deovolente

            I don’t live in Nigeria. They can block my account if they like. That’s the normal procedure. I can reactivate it when I get back to Nigeria. But let them keep their sticky fingers away from the little I have over there.

          • Tola

            And most of those people have complied. Let us cleanse our financial system of money laundering. You cannot pay online bills from Nigeria banks on many sites because they see us haven for money laundering. We have been struggling to open a Town Union Account for months now, banks are making onerous requests because some soulless thieves keep billions in Town Union accounts.

          • Osakue

            The point is where have you been since they have been shouting BVN even my gateman with less then 15k in his account was not happy until he got his BVN

          • Osakue

            Most people that have ignored the CBN directive are criminals

          • Deovolente

            You are obviously crazy.

      • tundemash

        Exactly how much time do you need to claim your loot ?

      • On point. It’s only in Nigeria you need all layers of identifications to transact businesses in Nigeria. Nigeria is the worst place in Africa to transact business. Banking is as simplified as ABC. Once you submit all required identifications to open an account, the rules keep changing by every administration to defraud the citizens. I understand I must produce up to 10-12 documents to prove ownership to drive my vehicle. And I must carry the receipts for my laptops, tablets and other electronics wherever I go in Nigeria. What a mess.!!!
        And some despicable idiots want to justify these oppressive policies.

      • Osakue

        After 3 years of screeming go and get your BVN? Haba

    • GusO

      There are probably some Nigerians abroad with accounts in the banks that might be garnished who don’t read Nigerian Newspapers. I do believe tha

      • tundemash

        BVN have been advertised since 2014. Nigerians abroad don;t read Nigerian Newspapers you said and I guess they don’t read Nigerian news online too nor do they get email from their banks nor do they have relatives in Nigeria ?????

  • Siku

    DEAR EDITOR,

    Please is there something in the 1999 Constitution, somewhere there,
    that can help Nigerians to change Muhamadu Buhari. I am not saying
    that Buhari is a big thief for going to raid banks to pocket the money
    of dead people without contacting their next of kin. If Buhari is a big
    thief the whole country will know that on Tuesday when Senate will
    open hearing into the $25 billion NNPC contract that Buhari signed,
    without approval of the Board of NNPC or federal executive council.

    I am more concerned that Buhari is too empty headed to be president
    of Nigeria. My fear is that Nigeria will collapse on the empty head of
    Muhamadu Buhari the way things are going. The Senate was saying
    this same fear two days ago. Muhamadu Buhari is not competent or
    knowledgeable. Buhari us sn electoral mistake that must be corrected.
    Is it by force that er must suffer like this until 2019? Is that democracy?
    Common sense says that when somebody is too bad you’ll remove him.
    How can common sense know better than democracy, I am asking you.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    STATE SPONSORED BANK ROBBERY.

    • Owejah

      Hahaha! Tawanda, report the matter to the nearest SARS station in your area.

  • Gary

    This is the height of desperation-Haba! The Nigerian government now wants to steal from its citizens by confiscating their savings?
    Whose responsibility is it to assign BVN to account holders? The banks taking in the deposits from their customers. So what is the justification for Malami, Adeosun and Emefiele to now conspire to seize the lodgements of citizens who put their money into the banks but were not assigned BVNs?
    What manner of thievery is this that a Nigerian court went along? Only in Nigeria -the land of amazing impunity.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      We have a lawless regime in power, a regime without human conscience, a regime of blood-letting , an immoral regime, a nepotized regime, a regime of propaganda, lies and mass deception. Those who put this tyranny in power are all responsible for the cruelty being dispensed upon Nigerians with impunity.

      • Dawood

        Tawanda, all day money wey you loot don go o!

    • Dawood

      All the thieves run run run…
      All the thieves scatter scatter…
      Magu dey come, Malami dey come..
      Looters don dey cry…
      Fraudsters don dry cry…
      We hear anger, tears and lies…
      Their regular trade mark.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Those huge funds held in various bank accounts by Nigerian banks, were gains of advance-corruption crimes and Federal Government, must take ownership of such funds and focus the funds to develop our critical infrastructural projects like regular power supply and modernize healthcare facilities all over Nigeria.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Ole…..ole…..ole !!

    • Deovolente

      How are you so sure about all you are saying? Are you a member of some criminal syndicate?

  • Sam

    Some mumu lawyers are quick to condemn this , but the other day the UAE government ordered it banks to close all accounts whose KYC was not up to date.
    Yet we did not hear their lawyer condemning the govt.

    • Emeka

      Why do Nigerian journalists seek the opinion of these irresponsible law miscreants on an important government decision? In the UK they would ask opinion of the opposition only!

      • Sam

        Do we have journalist anymore this days? Just bunch of lazy hustlers who lack professional ethics whatsoever..

        • duwdu

          I tend to agree with you guys, Emeka and Sam.

          ……..
          P34c3
          …..

  • dami

    Erm…what of microfinance banks?

  • Deovolente

    What a country !! This bare-faced wicked act will forever destroy the little trust that still remains in the Nigerian banking system.

    • Augustine 2000

      Dear Editor,

      I am not a wicked person but I can do and undo. If any Editor in Premium Times should insult me again,
      by calling Muhamadu Buhari a man of integrity, you will see me in my true colours. It is lack of English
      that makes someone to call a rogue “a man of integrity”. If you don’t know the meaning of the word
      “integrity” you have to buy Advanced Learner’s dictionary and look at the meaning there.

      How can Muhamadu Buhari
      be a man of integrity, how, tell me! Do you want to corrupt our children in Nigeria that man of integrity
      means somebody who did not sit or pass Wasc or GCE but tells lies that he took the exam? This is how
      you journalists under-develop Nigeria.

      I will not take it from you. Enough is enough. Somebody that has
      committed so many offences to stand criminal trial is the person you journalists call man of integrity?
      Do you know how many offences Buhari committed by appointing a criminal fugitive and promoting
      that same criminal fugitive as Director of the federal civil service?

      Do you know there is what
      lawyers call “obstruction of justice”, which is a criminal offence? Do you know there is something else
      called “aiding and abetting”? Instead of you journalists to do a long list of these offences you are calling
      a criminal “a man of integrity”. I am waiting for any Editor to repeat that nonsense by calling Buhari a man
      of integrity. Just repeat it once more. You will see the other side of me. What nonsense are you writing?

  • This is unbelievable. Nigeria has become a joke in the international community. I live in the US and I have an account with an Ikeja branch of UBA. I don’t have BVN. So this administration would steal my money for lack of BVN? Nigeria is a joke.

    • Eyo

      Living in US does not mean you are more en-lighting and exposed than folks in Nigeria. I did my BVN registration in New York. you mean to tell me your bank account has no BVN linked? Nigerians in the diaspora who has no BVN number should blame themself for their inadequacy and incompetency. some folks will never do things at the time until the last minute, you hear them crying foul. Like some of these moron right here

      • Okakuoofbenin

        You are a fucking moron!!!better write in your native language, since you have a problem with the English language. I am working in Switzerland at the moment and the closest spot indicated by my bank for a BVN is over 600km away from where i am and you are castigating me and other Nigerians in the Diaspora? Anofia

        • tundemash

          Mor0n, u could go to a party or a religious crusade over 600km if invited but you have no time to dedicate one day to do your BVN since 2014 ? You are not the only one in Dispora; I and others have done ours!

      • Deovolente

        You talk like someone with slave mentality.

      • tundemash

        He is illegal in US so he can;t show up at the BVN Registration centre.

    • tundemash

      Mor0n, prove you have operated that account since 2015 as you can;t operate an account without BVN since 2015. Most of you can;t get BVN because you are illegal in US. End of !

      • This rabid, detestable and despicable pig has surfaced again….. I hope you’ve been paid your salaries in past 10 months. Stay safe from ritualists, cultists and kidnappers if hunger doesn’t kill you. Despicable pig.

        • tundemash

          Mor0n, you have no account in Nigeria as you are illegal in US. Empty barrel making noise.

          • I can afford to donate my Nigeria bank account deposits as a widow’s mite to my country’s economy. Not by this fraudulent policies.
            Over here, I transact all my banking businesses in the comfort of my office and home 24/7 online. I resolve all banking issues by a single phone call to my accounts reps.
            You are stinky pig to come to this platform to insult people. You are a disgrace to Nigeria and to Nigerians.

    • Emeka

      No government is seizing the 250 Naira you have in that account, anytime you come back, just go and take your crayfish money with just court affidavit… “We dey of meat, kpomo dey raise hand.” Mtcheeeew!!

  • The Optimist

    This is VERY GOOD! Any account not liked to BVN is a ‘ghost account” – losing looter’s account. Confiscate them all!

    • Dawood

      YESSSSS!

      • Deovolente

        Ode, Omugo !!

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Onye Oshi

    • Deovolente

      Why expose your primitive ways to the rest of the world. So shameful.

      • Tola

        Which rest of the world? Go and open account in the developed world and refuse to provide documentation when required. You go to jail straight. Banks have been fined billions because they omitted to do proper KYC on Abacha family. A bank warehoused billions for Fayose and was running helter skelter for passport photos when query arose on the accounts. Some of the international banks even refuse outrightly to open account for Nigerians because of these thieves. Enough.

  • princegab

    Excellent move, long overdue. Thank you oga Malami and oga judge.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Ole

      • princegab

        They wouldn’t have been left redundant if they were not stolen.
        Mark you, it’s a temporary forfeiture, owners can always come to claim.

        • Deovolente

          Spoken like a true fascist. Get back to sambisa!!

      • princegab

        Where is unholy Wahala?
        He upvoted me somewhere but i can’t find him anywhere.

        • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

          Probably chillin out.

          • princegab

            Thought as much, thanks

    • Deovolente

      Thief.

      • princegab

        Thanks, you are right. Let those who are not thieves make claims. The rest of us, thieves.

  • Isyaku Muhammad

    This is indeed very good action by Nigerian government. What made them failed to abide the rules and policy of cbn

    • Olu Badejo (B.sc, Msc, M.phil)

      @disqus_WmbDSrpJpD:disqus

      Why Buhari government is dead on arrival

      Fish rots from the head. Any government led by a Primary Six certificate holder
      can’t be sensible or thoughtful but brutish and ruinous. Were Muhamadu Buhari’s
      shambolic government in Nigeria itself less studded by morons it would be funny,
      rather than this tragic.

      Alas, with a retard like Lai Muhammed as Buhari’s Information Minister,
      a near-cretin who cannot yet logically explain how President Buhari’s ear
      infection led, inexorably, to blood transfusion for 103 days in London, but who
      continues to draw salary, nonetheless, for lacking in believability, the first
      qualification for the job, even as he’s surrounded by jaded creatures in his
      own image, such as 77-year-old Duro Onabule – who himself holds tight
      to a virtual sinecure post as N.T.A Chairman, but with nothing to show
      for it in the public interest; other than his own personal benefits,
      salary and allowances; whilst N.T.A rots into laughable mess,
      the Buhari government was virtually dead on arrival.

      • Tola

        B Sc, M Sc address the issue. Nigeria is on the list of nations accused of tolerating money laundering. A law was made against money laundering and bvn policy instituted. You know the cost to us for being on this list? If you say it should be left in the bank, it is for the bank’s use. Address the issue. Many on this forum have more than M. Sc.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Barawo

    • Deovolente

      Ole!!

  • Rommel

    Anybody that disagrees with this move by FG must be a Patience Jonathan, any aggrieved party should go to court and show cause why his/her account should not be confiscated after years of government announcing that this would happen to non BVN accounts..

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      Oloshi

    • Seetrouble

      @disqus_MSz5KF4VNF:disqus

      A MISSING PERSON KIDNAPPED IS NOT DEAD YET BUT NOT FOUND ALIVE EITHER,
      THEREFORE THE FAMILY CANNOT HAVE ACCESS TO HIS BANK ACCOUNT WITH
      LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION SINCE THE LAW SAYS THE MISSING PERSON
      MUST REMAIN MISSING FOR SEVEN (7) CONSECUTIVE YEARS BEFORE HE
      CAN BE PRESUMED DEAD IN LAW. AND TODAY, UNDER SEVEN (7) YEARS
      PRESIDENT, MUHAMADU BUHARI WANTS TO RAID ALL THE MONEY OF ALL
      MISSING PEOPLE IN THE BANK IN A COUNTRY OF KIDNAPPING DAILY.

      • Adams

        One thing most of you arguing against this issue fail to do is read and understand the whole thing.

        The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has granted a request by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, FOR a TEMPORARY FORFEITURE OF all FUNDS HELD in bank accounts NOT LINKED to BVNs — AND WHOSE OWNERSHIP COULD NOT BE ABSOLUTELY IDENTIFIED.

        The banks were also directed to publish all bank accounts not linked to BVN in national newspapers with a 14-day notice for individuals with interest in such accounts to come forward and justify why their funds should not be forfeited to the Nigerian government

        If you have a brother who happens to have an account nt linked to BVN and have been missing, and cannot be absolutely identified, then you are a person with interest

        • Tola

          Do they read? You get the impression right away that they are hired to play politics. That was how they mounted silly attacks on biometric voters’ accreditation.

        • FEMI A USA

          Do I need to travel to Nigeria because of my dormant accounts? No problem so that the bank employee can re-open the accounts.

          • Tola

            You are not telling the truth. If you are in USA and you are talking of coming to Nigeria. The banks advertised centres everywhere and sent numerous mails to accounts holders intimating them. Many are just angry over the seized houses. Let fictitious and suspicions accounts whose owner does not come forward be seized. If the present occupants of Abuja have similar accounts, it should be seized when they are voted out and if possible should be jailed for life. Enough of plundering of our Commonwealth.

          • Zy

            How crazy you guys are, you think USA is like Nigeria, you keep centres in far away cities and states and expect someone to spend more than the money he has in the account on transportation just get his BVN done. So long as I’m concerned this order doesn’t make sense, let the government focus on politically exposed individuals, those are easily traceable. This has nothing to do with corruption, rather the government is looking for money to finance their budget deficit.

          • Tola

            You always abuse when you run out of argument or you are doing someone’s bidding. You are not concerned that US has refused to take us off the money laundering nations list because of our dodgy accounts documentation. You cannot pay $1 bill from your account in Nigeria in many sites because of this thieves. Pls if you have legitimate money in any account make a claim. What was the reason for the BVN policy if no consequence?

          • okpada

            This is not case of dormant accounts but money heavily stacked in Nigeria banking vaults without verifiable ownership. There is KYC which mean know your customer. How can a bank open an account for a customer without the knowledge of the customer. It can only happen in Nigeria , are the account holders ghosts?

        • Zy

          Let the government provide the funds to trace the families and not publishing nonsense on newspapers, how many old people in the village read newspapers, all bank accounts have next of kin assigned the should rather ask the bank to contact the next of kin if the can’t contact the account owners. Let’s not steal from the poor in the name of fighting corruption, also there’re millions of Nigerians living abroad and you don’t expect them to travel back to Nigeria for BVN.

    • Gary

      Nazi, I see you have crawled out of hibernation to do your propaganda job on this issue?
      Have you people no shame? That a national government is trying to rob its own people, in clear violation of extant law. Just mind-boggling the level of moronic decision-making we see from the Buhari regime.
      He wastes money prospecting oil in the North, treating himself in London plus parked jet. They’ve borrowed all they can from domestic banks and now going for foreign loans.
      So someone has come up with the idea of seizing money that normally should be considered as “Dormant Accounts” into the federal treasury.
      A government of thieves. Awon ole jati-jati. Shame on you if you get away with robbing your own people. Desperados.

    • Deovolente

      Eff-off Mr Hitler. You must be a lunatic sambisa beast.

      • Musbau Hamzat

        You have ill gotten money in your bank account?

        • Deovolente

          All I have in my Nigerian bank is only a few naira as minimum balance. But the money is still mine and not your’s or anyone else. If you are looking for someone with “ill gotten money” , then you take a look in the mirror.

    • Zy

      That’s exactly why you people think from your anus, have considered the fact that some of those customers maybe dead and their families still going through legal process to access such funds, even some of them have next of kin that cannot be contacted.

      • tundemash

        Mor0n, those are exceptional cases and not teh norm and would be dealt with accordingly ! If you have stashed stolen money in any bank, go and register it under a BVN else you forfeit it !

        • duwdu

          Simple.

          ……..
          P34c3
          …..

      • Osakue

        Simple as ABC for the family let them show course why the government should not forfit their money

      • Osakue

        My brother this is the best thing to happen to Nigeria since 1999 this is another way to drive away corruption. For me only a criminal will hate this move.

        • duwdu

          Well said, Osakwe.

          ……..
          P34c3
          …..

      • Zy

        Sorry moron Nigerians, you guys don’t get it. The government should focus on politically exposed individuals not a blanket order, let the government not steal from the poor families and individuals please.

        • Tola

          So tell me how to identify PEP when I open account in the name KetuYaba Towns Union and I refuse to do proper BVN for the trustees. So how do you identify the PEPs using such accounts. Experienced people worked on the Money Laundering Act, and people thought deeply before the BVN was instituted. That was how they opposed biometric voter accreditation. Some don’t have fingers, some don’t know how to use computer, some cannot see etc etc. If there is a policy there must be consequences.

  • Arogbo

    Wow! This is so cool, but the government should let us know the amount of money forfeited to the government through this action.

    • Gary

      I see the full force of BMC hired guns and morons are working overtime on this thread tonight. Lai must be desperate to justify the unmasking of this daylight robbery by a government against its own citizens.

      Buhari must really be desperate to raise funds to cover the billions he’s wasted while waiting for the kickbacks from Barawo Baru at NNPC to come in. Elections are fast approaching and there’s yet nothing on the ground to show even the gullible Nigerians why this shambolic government deserves to be re-elected.
      Desperation is pushing this lunacy that the National Assembly needs to step in forthwith and stop the government from robbing its own citizens. You cannot encourage Nigerians at home and abroad to bring their money home and put into the banking system (instead of under the mattress or tanks or Osborne Towers) only for the same government to find excuses to confiscate such funds over BVN.
      Erring banks should be fined for non-compliance rather than government attempting to rob citizens of their funds.

      Do this and watch the adverse impact on remittances from Nigerians in Diaspora if you seize their money and inevitable loss of confidence in the Nigerian banking system.

      Morons who don’t think through their actions. We know Buhari does not have School Certificate but how on Earth could the likes of Kemi Adeosun, Emefiele and even Osinbajo sign onto this lunacy?

      • U. B. 400

        @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

        “Nigeria is no longer a country. It’s not a country where people can live to survive.

        Nigeria is a place ruled by criminals and thieves – as well as by several others who

        believe in plundering and looting.”

        ……Mbazulike Amaechi

        (Nigeria’s First Minister of Aviation)

        [September 14th, 2014]

      • Tola

        But the money laundering act was signed by GEJ. What was he thinking? If you think this is wrong application of the act, appeal the ruling.

        • Gary

          This is not a question of who enacted the law but of the robotic mindset with which Buhari and his hirelings have been running the country. Penny wise pound f*olish goes an old saying.
          You cannot in the name of fighting corruption undermine the country’s banking system. At a time you purportedly have a program to attract investments and the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
          Who is the investor, at home or abroad, who sees the ease with the AGF and his agents can sequester and confiscate funds in banks who will put his put his money into Nigerian banks? Is sequestering the funds the best way to ensure compliance by banks of the BVN protocol?
          Just what do the cabinet members discuss at FEC if they aren’t a rubber stamp led by the whims and caprices of an uneducated autocrat intimidating ministers and the rest with his age and military background?
          Is that anyway to run a country that really wants to develop? Then when they obviously goof, the double down and send propaganda minions to flood social media to justify their harebrained and vindictive policies.

          • Tola

            Pls don’t talk about these confidence in banking industry again because it makes you look ‘one kain’ ( apology to GEJ). Ask people who are conversant with the industry. An industry where you can open account and write letters to numerous foreigners to wire money and when you trace such account, it is dead end because they are fraudulent accounts. The international community has been telling us to cleanse our system. So give another reason. We need to leave the company of Niger, Lybia, North Korea etc as countries blacklisted for money laundering.

  • Dayo Ope Labinjo

    Have you made attempt in srtting to such individual or organisation.Taking such erroneous action appears to be fraudulent.
    E.g I kno a resident overseas who is not able to do BVN in nigeria and no ,VN cente in uk to complete request.

  • O’Orly

    @Arogbo:

    We have a useless government in Nigeria – a very confused government that can’t think.
    Buhari is the wrong man for the job of president of a country desiring innovative growth.
    The man Buhari did not train in the relevant academic disciplines like law or economics.
    He cannot take any informed decision after 1000 advisers have finished advising him.
    Advisers can only tender advice and go, the person receiving it must understand it.
    Buhari does not have the head to understand financial or legal advice to start with.
    No wonder Buhari drove Nigeria into the worst economic recession within a year.
    Since resuming as president Buhari hasn’t come up with a single idea of his own.

    • 2019 Cassandra

      @dayoopelabinjo:disqus

      I hope the assorted appointees of President Muhamadu Buhari
      know what to expect after the 2019 general elections – mass detention for
      financial crimes investigation, most likely. Nigerians cannot see anything done
      by Buhari after two years in power, and after blowing two annual budgets of
      over eight (8) trillion Naira. The people of Nigeria have a reason to call the
      Buhari government the most corrupt ever. No accountability is obvious, as if
      budget funds are just shared by APC contractors and party chieftains. The idea
      of personal ownership of the treasury is what undid the Buhari government,
      as it embarked on financial warfare against rivals and non-party members. The bad
      effect of such primitive cronyism is the extreme poverty across Nigeria. President
      Buhari’s misfit Minister of Power RAJI FASHOLA was allocated ₦800 billion in the last
      two (2) years but he’s been generating zero megawatts of electricity.

    • Konko Ahove

      “The Muhamadu Buhari that i know is an economic illiterate!”.

      ………..Dr. JUNAID MUHAMMED

      (Kano, July 23rd, 2016)

    • adestamper

      @disqus_37tUayk10K:disqus

      I JUST WANT TO BEG THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO FORGIVE OUR SINS IN NIGERIA.
      WE MADE A BLUNDER TO CHOOSE ANOTHER BAD LEADER CALLED MUHAMADU BUHARI
      WHO CANNOT SHOW ANY WASC/GCE CERTIFICATE UP TILL TODAY – A NEAR ILLITERATE.
      INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SHOULD NOT JUDGE US BY OUR BLUNDER, BUT DELIVER US
      FROM EVIL, BECAUSE WE HAVE SINNED AND HAVE FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.

      • okpada

        Shut up!!!!. How can you have billions of naira in bank accounts in Nigeria and yet there are no information on who own these accounts. It can only happen in Nigeria where banks collude people to steal government money. And it is even a shame for a bank to open an without verifiable ownership. I was in the industry for over twenty years, banking have be thrown to the dogs

    • FEMI A

      That is why he surrounded himself with cabals because he is a robot.

      • Osakue

        Even the so called cabals will be affected so forget all these your cabals baba Buhari stands alone. Go and ask the suspended SGF.

        • Musbau Hamzat

          You are given then the perfect response.

  • Adekunle

    I don’t understand the fuss about this policy, I believe it’s a right decision to check un-utilized, dormant and most likely illegitimate funds within the banking system.
    The BVN policy has been in existence since 2014 if I remember correctly, windows were opened for members of the diaspora to do theirs, if after almost 4yrs you’re unable to do your bvn, then you should have yourself to blame.
    Also, it’s only an order of temporary forfeiture that was granted. If your earnings are legal, your bank will contact you through valid contact details and you can reclaim your funds.
    Anything short of this, it’s apparent that they are proceeds of illegitimate earnings and the govt has a fiduciary duty to seize them and use for the benefit of all citizens.

    • FEMI A USA

      You are wrong with your assessment because people like me have not been home for that period of time. Does it mean I should forfeited my account because your government is corrupt? Some people have half baked brains.

      • Tola

        There were BVN centres all over the world and you still can claim your money by writing to the bank. Read the judgement.

      • Osakue

        You live in Mars? Bro you know get better cash inside your account. We that vote for change LOVE this move this is the true Buhari we know. Soon corruption will be a thing of the past. Ole!

        • Musbau Hamzat

          Clapping!!!!!

        • whereto

          The guy is probably typing from somewhere in Mushin. USA indeed.

      • kinsly

        Since 2011? 6yrs now? So Govt Policy should wait for you? Just remain where you are because i see you are not a serious Nigerian citizen.

      • tundemash

        There were BVN registration centers in USA unless you are illegal there hence you are scared to go register there.

    • Stephen

      Are you sure you know what you are saying. So those elderly men or women who maybe abroad on health care will come back to notice there account has been emptied by the greedy government.
      What of people, in village, who still do not know about the BVN policy or do not understand.

      • kinsly

        Are you for real? Since 2011??

        • Musbau Hamzat

          Good response

        • Stephen

          BVN mandate is from 2015 not 2011

  • Simeon Nigel

    This idea of confiscations or forfeitures by the Federal Government of President M.Buhari under the cover of a court of competent jurisdiction obtained stamped judgement is good in the sense that those past and present public officers , civil servants and other purse looters from government structures will this time be tought a hard lesson, except that some number of innocent folks will suffer at the end as caused by the Federal Government efforts into dealing with a heavy blow to those evil and wicked Nigerians looters, frausters and theives that happened to have had hide their looted monies under different names and extended family members names. The question is how about foreigners from other overseas countries that kept their monies in Nigeria banks as being that some of these banks do have branches in their countries of origin too, would their monies be fortfieture too by the Federal government in the prevailing or ongoing circumstance?

    • Musbau Hamzat

      Good contribution. In respect to foreigners, when the account is being opened, they will definitely provide their identity –
      International Passport and visa and thus will generate BVN for them. The BVN is to link you to your rightful identity. This will not affect them at all.

      • Simeon Nigel

        Hi Musbau Hamzat, it is true about what you said and this is what will be the case, then the Federal Government plan to dealt a blow to government looters is in order.

  • Osakue

    No responsible person who worked so hard for his or her money will leave even 50k to a bank even Dangote no go leave him penny. So this is a welcome idea for a nation so fantastically corrupt. Only a greedy rich man or woman who died suddenly without disclosing such account to any close family may be just be the only funds that might not come from corruption. Anyone trying to avoid BVN is a criminal.

    • Nimba County

      @Osakue:disqus

      “It is the President of Nigeria (Muhamadu Buhari) who is masterminding
      the policy of robbing Southerners to deliberately favour Northerners. It was a grave mistake and the consequences for all Nigerians will be grievous If any more evidence is needed that President Buhari has deliberately embarked on running Nigeria’s democracy as “Government of the Northern Region, by the
      Northern Region and for the Northern Region”, the World Bank President has removed all doubt.

      The very use of the term “northern region” makes it very clear that the man millions of us in the Southern
      Region trusted, campaigned for and supported is after all a northern believer. The first and most fundamental consequence of the World Bank disclosure is that it has now forced each of us to decide if henceforth we can believe anything government says. For me, it has now become almost impossible.

      Cheating Southerners, which is a worse form of corruption than an appointed official stealing public funds,
      was planned even as the campaign for change was going on.”

      …………Dele Sobowale

      (VANGUARD, October 22nd, 2017)

      • Musbau Hamzat

        What is the correlation of your comment with the subject on discussion? O ga o

  • Patriotic Nigerian

    Most of the people making comments are either ignorant of international best banking practices or they are mischievous in their analysis of the current situation. There is no any responsible government in the world that will allow individuals and corporate organisations to keep huge amount of money in the banks of it country without providing their proper identity for effective monitoring and tax payment. holders. Doing that alone is an illegality that must be punished both on the part of the banks and the account holders. In addition allowing such accounts to operate is a clear breach of our nattional security. They should disclose their identity by linking the accounts to their BVN, if they dont have any skeleton in their cupboards of forteit the funds to Nigerian government.

    • duwdu

      Well said, Patriotic Nigerian.

      ……..
      P34c3
      …..

    • Arrant nonsense. I gave them veritable identifications when i activated my bank accounts. Another layer of identification is a fraud. Show your identification and access your money. Simple. BVN is another official 419.

  • Owejah

    Money can only be kept in the bank without BVN if the owner :
    1. Is a rogue that is incapable of defending how the money was made.
    2. Is in prison or in a place where he/she cannot easily come out in the meantime to effect the BVN.
    3. Is a sponsor of terrorism, or
    4. Is dead and the information relating to the fund remains undisclosed to the next of kins.
    Whatever it is, the Federal Government position has my full backing. I don’t think there is much sense in coming out to stoutly defend any one who hasn’t come up with a claim. When anyone comes out with a claim, it would be treated on its merit. For now, FG … please carry go!

    • duwdu

      Very well said, Owejah!

      ……..
      P34c3
      …..

    • Olusola

      Not so bro, I just remembered now that I have two such accounts I never bordered to go do BVN. One is FCMB of about 10k balance and the other is FBN of 16k. As I was not sure if they would not have eaten up the balances since i stopped banking with them for over 10yrs each, I never bordered. I am not still sure I will border. But I agree with Govt, they will recover huge sums kept in strange names not linked to BVN. So I am not the target but there will be many like myself with dormant accounts, so add that to your list, we are not crooks.

      • kanen

        That’s why a blanket policy is primitive and counter productive.
        The masses are already suffering and they want to add more.
        Presently some civil servants who until now were receiving their salaries through the bank are being subjected to diverse sufferings because of alleged BVN issues. Consider what will happen when such accounts are ceased and the money taken over by the government. What shall that amount to.

        • Osakue

          Lol you are funny if The masses have as little as 1000 naira in any bank they will go and register their BVN and claim their money sharp sharp! Na only Ole they vex for this move

      • Osakue

        One BVN covers all banks accounts you don’t need your 10k anymore otherwise you will get your money just go to any of your branch and register it is free

  • Felix

    The Federal government and banks should place a hold on the accounts without experience BVN and deny withdrawal of funds from such accounts as long as the account holders are not able to rectify the BVN issue. Such accounts should remain with the individual banks and can still receive deposits but no withdrawals of funds.

  • grand maze

    My father died in 2011 and up till now, the family had not been able to conclude processes to claim the account. Also there are other accounts which we are still trying to locate. The FG should not touch my father’s accounts because there is nothing concerning him with corruption. Most of the money are proceeds of some long held assets he sold in his old age and money sent to him by his children.

    • Tola

      This is good for you. Banks will publish all accounts without BVN, so all accounts not disclosed to you will be out there. You then make a legitimate claim in line with the order.

      • Gary

        And a Nigerian account holder resident in Australia or Indonesia or in Alabama will be magically made aware of this publication in the Nigerian media or risk forfeiture of his money?
        This is Buhari’s penny wise, pound f*olish approach to fighting corruption.

        The moronic regime is moving from seizing all of Patience Jonathan’s funds in the banks to seizing everybody’s money in the banks.
        While purportedly running a policy to ease business and investments in Nigeria.
        So to get at a few alleged miscreants, the government is willing to undermine the public’s faith and trust in the entire banking industry with its ham handed and autocratic policies.

        Everything Buhari touches, Buhari corrupts and undermines. While his minions insist that the uneducated autocrat has integrity and means well for the country he’s running into the ground.

        • Tola

          You are ridiculous. By tomorrow I can tell you all banks would have informed all their accounts holders of this. You don’t know anything about the banking industry. Today we are on the list of countries accused of money laundering in their banks. For years we have been told to cleanse our banking industry. Today you cannot pay $1 online for any bill in some US sites. This will strengthen international confidence in our documentation. A retired colleague was robbed of his pension when a thief went to open account with fraudulent papers and wrote to the foreign pension managers rerouting payment to the fraudulent account. Will that enhance confidence in Nigeria banks from the international fund managers? I am sure you were one of those that opposed the biometric voter accreditation. Sorry, too late these acts were signed by GEJ and they must be implemented.

          • Gary

            Moron, hueee who introduced TSA and BVN and the other financial controls now put in place to tackle corruption in the banking industry? Ding ding – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who served as Finance Minister under the much-aligned Goodluck Jonathan. When the inarticulate man said his government was tackling corruption systematically, nobody believed him but chose to deride him for dumb differentiation of corruption and stealing. Buhari may not have personally stolen money but he has been consistently corrupt in his public life. Nepotism, shielding your corrupt and incompetent kinsmen who actually steal for you and your party at all acts of corruption. Get it?
            So please spare us the claptrack about fighting corruption by this government led by s Fulani bigot and the Zombies who serve him. There’s no difference between Diezani’s actions at NNPC and what Barawo Baru is currently up to. Just like Turai star Adua is far bigger thief and should have been tried for treason in forging her husband’s assent to the national budget and her Cabal’s subsequent looting of the Aso Rock allocation. Magu knows this but Oga wants him to go after only the Southerners while arranging soft landings for thieving Northerners to quietly make refunds and no naming or shaming.
            Just like Magu knows all the shenanigans involved in the Paris Club Refunds. But will he indict the Sultan of Sokoto?
            One more guess, who are the people and from which part of the country will be most affected by the sequestering or confiscation of their bank deposits that Malami &Co got a judge to approve?
            Ding, ding…those dumb Southerners who make up the majority of Nigerians in Diaspora and thought their money would be safe in Nigerian banks from the capricious and uninformed policies of Muhammadu Buhari.

          • Tola

            You can call me anything you like but the banking industry must be sanitized. I am not worried who instituted the policy, it must be implemented. If anybody has funds not linked to him be that person be OBJ, Turai, Patience, myself or yourself, it must be forfeited. Many of those involved in 419 destroying our names all over are up in arms. I once told a director in cbn that the rule is not stringent enough. There must be a primary document, say national id, because some of these criminals have driving license in one name, international passport in another and voters card yet in another. We are tired of being called international capital of money laundering. People send hordes of letters to me from overseas that they receive requesting them to wire money. Let the 419 and fraudsters go, legitimate fund owners who are otherwise incapacitated should apply for additional time to regularize.

          • Maxy

            God bless you my brother. This government is nothing but a useless, wailing hungry demon that can never get enough. They only came to trickishly steal what others gathered either genuinely or falsely without a single addition. It baffles me how crude, illiterate criminals can be deriding and castigating their smart and smooth criminal counterparts. Na wah o.

      • grand maze

        I don’t agree with you. Do you have the slightest idea the number of accounts we are looking at running into millions of people’s accounts. In a year, you probably have not gone through the accounts but the government is given 14 days. I remember when I had to go through a quoted company’s unclaimed dividends running into over 200,000. I had to stop along the way before I developed eye problem. And here we are talking of millions of accounts in all the 19 banks

        • Tola

          So how could you have found such accounts hidden in the bank not known to him/her? Unclaimed dividends are alphabetical. I found mine within a minute. I even found the name of my father in-law easily because he told me, more than twenty years ago, he had NB shares. As you claim if we have millions of accounts involved, that means our banking industry is a disaster. Are you aware we are grouped with Niger, Sudan, Syria, Libya, North Korea etc as countries whose banking are involved in money laundering? Find out the cost to the the economy yearly. We must know accounts owners. The World Bank and all the International institutions have been telling us to strengthen documentation and fight money laundering.

          • tundemash

            Rogues and their foot soldiers are not happy about this policy

  • NotTooComplicated

    Forfeiture is a very strong way to go about it. I will give just one reason to support this.
    I’ve been in and out of Europe several times, and I’ve travelled to different parts of the world too. Most times, you see Nigerians living illegally in these countries for years, and in some cases waiting for residency for years too.

    While they live illegally in these countries some work illegally too and because they cannot in most times have bank accounts in these places, they direct most of their earnings to Nigeria. This is done by asking their relatives to open an account in their names (not the relative names), with their passport photograph, and a copy of an identity, which could be a Nigerian passport or driver’s license purchased for them. And once this arrangement is made, the relative will not be able to have operational access to the account, but can always make deposit into the account.

    Now, 3 years for the registration and normalisation of the BVN is a very short time. As I stated above, let us assume anyone trapped in that arrangement above is still waiting for residency, because most times people could wait up to 10 years to normalise their stay, as this is very apparent in the USA when Trump came into power and began to deport people back home, many of whom have been living illegally for up to 20 years. Now, let us assume some Nigerians are still trapped for the lack of residency and unable to come home, and the person who had assisted them in opening the account could not convert the account to their names or normalise the BVN on their behalf. Some Nigerians may have more than 20 million naira in their accounts, and still not able to travel yet. They are not criminals. As a matter of fact, most times you will feel for them for the nature of jobs they do to make a living. It will be completely wrong for these people who have worked hard for many years to forfeit their monies just like that.

    The Nigerian government does not understand what some Nigerians go through in other parts of the world. With the difficulties some Nigerians go through, they continue to send billions of naira into the country annually, both to support their families back home, and as savings for themselves. These people may continue to live for years without residency for 10 years or more. These people cannot be expected to lose their money just because they couldn’t come home to do BVN. People who could prove eventually that the monies belong to them, and for some reasons could not be in Nigeria or even within Nigeria but had been seriously incapacitated, they should be allowed to claim these monies back eventually. So it should not be a blank forfeiture. That is unacceptable. Our legal luminaries should challenge this ruling in the appear courts so as to ensure that people will not unjustly lose their monies.

  • duwdu

    I fully agree with you, blackdove!

    ……..
    P34c3
    …..

  • jonyinternational

    If the government of Nigeria does this, it is nothing but stealing funds from a lot of
    innocent people. Many Nigerian professionals in the US and Europe- lawyers,
    doctors and engineers living abroad have accounts held in different banks in
    Nigeria. Most of them do not have BVN. With BVN or no BVN, what is wrong if a
    man decides to keep some of his hard-earned money in his country’s bank. Has
    BVN stopped the fraud in Nigeria? Has BVN improved the economy as it was
    touted? The answer is no. The perennial problem with Nigeria is that the
    government officials are stealing the country’s money. If the government
    decides to confiscate the money belonging to Nigerians who live in the US and
    Europe etcetera, that would be an economic suicide for Nigeria because those people will
    no longer send money to Nigerian banks. They can their money to Banks in Ghana.
    The amount of money sent to Nigeria by Nigerian professionals living in the US
    and Europe is far bigger than the so-called oil income that Nigeria receives. Just
    like many Nigerians in the US, I have account with First Bank, Union Bank and
    UBA. BVN is not a good excuse to steal money from Nigerians abroad. If Nigeria does this,

    Nigeria will be sued abroad by these individuals and the country will be reported to
    the International monetary institutions like IMF, World Bank. The consequences may be

    the denial of credit facilities to Nigeria. It is easily said than done.Let Nigeria try this and
    many Nigerians in the US and Europe will divert their money to Ghana.