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Uproar as Nigerians in UK pay N10, 000 for BVN

Nigerians on queue for their Bank Verification Number
in London... on Friday.

Nigerians in London, United Kingdom, have expressed
frustration over the compulsory payment of £30 (about
N10, 000) for the registration of the Bank Verification
Number, as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Apparently sad over their plight, some of them during the
week stormed the Nigeria High Commission in London to
protest against the directive of the apex bank. Others took
to the social media to vent their anger.

The CBN had recently extended the deadline for the BVN
registration from June 30 to October 31, 2015 as disclosed
in a circular issued to all deposit money banks operating in
the country.

The Director, Banking and Payment Systems Department of
the CBN, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, said the extension became
imperative in order to give bank customers more time to
participate in the enrolment exercise.

The circular had read in part, “It has come to our notice that
the BVN registration has elicited tremendous interest from
the Nigerian banks’ customers who crowded the banking
halls in order to beat the deadline.

“Furthermore, there is the need to give Nigerian banks’
customers in the Diaspora ample time to enrol on the
programme. The guideline for their enrolment is being
finalised and will be released soon.”

Though the BVN registration in Nigeria is free, Nigerians
living in London have had to part with N10, 000 to enrol on
the exercise.

The directive was said to have been issued by the apex
bank, as confirmed by the UK chapter of the All
Progressives Congress and Zenith Bank.

The APC, UK chapter, had asked the bank on Twitter about
the authenticity of the directive and the bank replied, saying,
“The letter is genuine. The fee is as communicated by CBN
and the enrolment company was contracted by the CBN. We
trust this helps.”

Meanwhile, a user of a popular blogging platform, Nairaland ,
by the name klem93, said he was shocked to have seen
photos of Nigerians thronging the Nigeria High Commission
in London in frustration.

He wrote, “I thought it is going to be smooth sailing as I
read that BVN for Nigerians in London had begun. I didn’t
know it is going to be the same way as it went in Nigeria. A
reader of my blog who lives in London wrote me an email:

‘The Nigeria High Commission in London needs an urgent
overhaul. This afternoon, we Nigerians were treated like
animals in Fleet Street, London, all because we wanted to
do BVN for those of us who have accounts in Nigeria.

“Things soon became chaotic and someone called police
on us. They allowed us to converge on the street and then
locked us out. We were also being forced to pay £30.00
each, but none of the officials or the website could explain
what the money was meant for. Is it not free in Nigeria?”
Eleojoe23, another user of the platform, protested, “£30?
What for? They truly deserve an explanation. Maybe the
high commission thinks that since they live in London, they
should have enough money to spare. Do they think people
just go out and pick money on the streets in London?”

Another user of the platform, Julioralph, said, “30 pounds
for what? Members of staff at the high commission should
be changed. Even the CBN is at fault as well; they don’t
have proper plans for those abroad concerning this BVN

Attempts to get the comment of the ministry’s
spokesperson, Ogbole Ahmedu-Ode, were not successful as
he could not be reached on the phone. He also did not
respond to a text message that was sent to him.
But investigations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed
that the ministry was not involved in the BVN registration
held in the UK.

A highly placed official in the ministry explained that the
Nigeria High Commission in UK was not involved in the BVN
registration, stressing that it was handled by a private firm
which has no relationship with the embassy.

The source said that the high commission officials saw the
posters advertising the BVN registration in London like other
members of the public, noting that the “BVN registration
was the private affair of a private company.”

“Neither the Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Nigeria High
Commission in the UK was involved in the BVN registration;
the programme was handled by a private company which
has no relationship with the ministry or the high
commission,” the official said on Friday.

Also, the Director, Corporate Communications Department,
CBN, Mr. Mu’azu Ibrahim, could not be reached for
comments as repeated calls made to his mobile phone did
not connect.

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Posted By Bobricky On 10:40 Sat, 18 Jul 2015

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