Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, has called for more time for Nigerians in Diaspora to obtain their Bank Verification Number (BVN).
Dabiri-Erewa also urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to put modalities and logistics in place to make it easier for Nigerians abroad to obtain it.
“I hereby appeal to CBN to look into the challenges Nigerians living abroad are facing in getting their BVN done and extend the deadline for them to get the BVN done,’’ she said.
Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja by her media aide, Alhaji Abdurrahman Balogun, said that the request for extension of deadline was to prevent forfeiture of their savings.
The presidential aide also pleaded with the commercial banks to make the procedure easier for their customers living outside the country to be able to meet up with the new deadline.
She said that the appeal became imperative in view of an interim order of forfeiture granted by a Federal High Court in Abuja on 17 October over the matter.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had ordered 19 commercial banks to show cause within 14 days why the balances in such accounts should not be forfeited.
The court had also directed them to file an affidavit of disclosure before the court, stating the names of the accounts as operated, account numbers and outstanding balances.
Dabiri-Erewa recalled that the Federal Government had on 28 September instituted an action in court for the forfeiture of any balance in a bank account without a BVN.
”This is why the Attorney-General of the Federation should intervene in this matter to assist Nigerians living abroad who are at a disadvantage by allowing them more time to comply with the BVN directive.
“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,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She said that Nigerians in the Diaspora had been remitting billions of U.S. dollars back to the country on yearly basis, being the highest on the continent of Africa.
According to her, this has been contributing to the socioeconomic development of the country.