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CBN Imposes New Criteria for Owning a Bank Account in Nigeria – National Identity Number



From January 8, 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has said that having a National Identity Number, NIN, would be a criteria for owning and operating a bank account in the country.

To this effect, from September 1 this year, CBN in conjunction with the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, NIBSS, would commence a three-month enrollment exercise for all existing banks’ customers to capture their biometrics and issue to them NIN as well as a General Purpose Identity Card.

This was announced via a circular to all deposit money banks, microfinance banks and primary mortgage institutions, PMIs, on the use of the National Identity Number, NIN, for the Know Your Customer, KYC, verification.

The circular was signed by Mr. Dipo Fatokun, Director, Banking and Payments System Department.

The circular said: “As part of CBN’s efforts to bolster the banking industry and the entire financial system, the Bank in the recent past commenced steps to overhaul the KYC processes in banks, including the recently concluded customer account verification exercise.

In furtherance to this exercise, the Bankers Committee at a recent meeting resolved to adopt the new National Identity Number, NIN, which is expected to be issued from September 2012 by the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, in conjunction with its front-ends partners as the new basis for KYC for financial transactions going forward.

“As you may be aware, the NIMC was established by the NIMC Act 2007, to establish, operate, maintain and manage the new National Identity Management System, NIMS, which is the avenue for achieving government desire to develop and deepen the customer credit sector, enable e-payment, facilitate financial inclusion, develop commerce and harmonise all existing and future identification scheme.

The output of the NIMC is the issuance of national Identity numbers, i.e. an eleven digit number which is unique and unchangeable to an individual and the issuance of a general multi-purpose card, GMPC, based on chip technology to all citizen and legal residents in Nigeria.

The new system will be backed-up by a central standardised identity data base which will in turn enable financial institutions verify the identity of their customers on an online-real time basis using their NIN biometrics.

“Consequently, the CBN hereby directs that starting 8th January 2013, the NIN would be become the basis for KYC verification and compliance by all deposit money banks and by extension other deposit taking financial institutions including microfinance banks and primary mortgage institutions, PMIs, in Nigeria.

This enrollment exercise is planned to be completed by the 31st December 2012.”

What do you think about this development? Is the National Identity Number going to facilitate good banking practices? How far would it go in improving the Know Your Customer, (KYC) verification in banks?

Please share your thoughts.

News Source: Vanguard

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. ify

    June 1, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Its ok but it shouldn’t be all accounts. Even in the UK u don’t need a national number to open all accounts. I am a student here and I open my current and savings account without the national identity number. It was only when I wanted to open a fixed deposit account and other investment accounts that I was asked for it. Normal saving account that do not require much in terms of service from the bank should not require the number.

    • Denise

      June 1, 2012 at 10:06 am

      the Uk doesnt have an endemic problem with fraudulent abuse of its banking system like in Nigeria. Thats the underpinning to this, I think.

    • sandra

      June 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you, I was going to say that, the fraud in this country is on a different level, you can’t always copy copy foreign countries, we shld do what we need n not ignore it because the UK isn’t doing it smh…

  2. ify

    June 1, 2012 at 7:55 am


  3. shina adekunle

    June 1, 2012 at 8:38 am

    its a good one

  4. may

    June 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Do I hear anyone say illuminati? New world order? Another way to control us. No NIN means no money. Surely. The. End times are near. God save us. Amen.

  5. missus

    June 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

    hmmm Big Brother nation loading…

  6. kem

    June 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

    very soon, they will need a pin to be srewed into our body so we can pass through scan before collecting our money….what a world all in the name of technology, you never know when the anti christ is in….

  7. LPS

    June 1, 2012 at 10:08 am

  8. Maurice

    June 1, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I agree with ify that only serious accounts such as buisness & investments accounts should require proof of NIN. Regular savings accounts for students,traders,salaries should be excluded.However,it will be very useful for every one to have it for other purposes that will require identification.

  9. Vicki

    June 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

    That guy shud be checked…i think he ȋڪ Illuminati…

  10. Turayo

    June 1, 2012 at 11:38 am

    This is good development. Hopefully databases can be created with law enforcement so people can have an national identity card and something similar to a social security number.

  11. Lucy

    June 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Nigerians will turn anything into a spiritual matter. When will we mature and grow out of this hen. National Identity numbers are used everywhere abeg. Yes they don’t need it for opening basic accounts, but these societies are not as corrupt and fraudulent as we are.

  12. philip

    June 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This country where every supposed good i born out of ulterior motives?

  13. sandra

    June 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    lucy i pray God ll open ur eyes. There’s no need of speakn further. He that has ears let him hear.

  14. Asuatang

    June 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Every policies at the stage of formulation in Nigeria is superb, but to follow it to the later at the implementation stage is ZERO.

  15. OmogeNaija

    June 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    In my opinion, it’s a welcome idea, that way, we can account for almost every citizen of the nation, when everything links to each other, crime would reduce, bank account – home address – car plate number – finger print etc

  16. Me2me

    June 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Sandra, abeg abeg abeg. If u are raped now ul want the govt to find the person for u abi? How do you expect them to do so if data is not collected. You guys should learn how to look at things differently. Yes there is evil in the world but that does not mean everyone intends evil.

    Anyway im sure you have never left the shores of Nigeria cos if you have your own bio data would have been collected as well *ntooooo gi*

  17. deblaax

    June 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    What will happen to people like me who live out side the country and still run accounts in Nigeria? I hope they don’t say somethin funny like freezing our accounts

  18. may

    June 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    That’s athe point exactly. Everybody will be ACCOUNTED for. There will be no hiding place for anyone. @ Lucy, Before u say we don’t know what we are talking about, please google illuminati and new world order. Also, google, illuminati card game. Very soon, no more paper money. Every ones identity will be on a data base. U cant even go to tiolet without “them” knowing. We need to arm ourselves with knowldge. The “rapture” might be closer than we think. Like Sandra said, “he that has ears, let him hear”, also, he that can read, let him google what I’ve said. Then, you can’t say you were not warned.

    • Sandi

      June 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Sweetheart take it easy, the world will have to end eventually. Eventually you and I will die, so if you no wan carry devil number, say your last prayers and say well the time has eventually come, and leave the rest of us to God. Thank you.

      A welcome idea indeed.

    • AB

      June 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      Well said. Ignorance is what will kill Nigerians. If people would read their bible, they would have known that a time will come when people will have to take the mark of the beast. Without it, you cannot buy, sell or do anything. Anyways, we cannot change bible prophecy. When the rapture occurs, those left behind will suffer. Soon, they will force people to put a chip in their hand (the mark of the beast).

  19. erion

    June 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    deblaax: my tot/ worry. u took d letters outta my keyboard

  20. Dee-USA

    June 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    So what happens if you live outside the country but have accounts in Nigeria? I don’t remember ever getting an NIN number or whatever. So how do even get one? Knowing Naija, even if you decide to get one on your next visit back home, they’ll make it so difficult for you to get it within your timeframe that you’d have to bribe someone to get stuff taken care of before you leave. If you ask me, it’s just another avenue for officials to collect money from people to get their numbers.

  21. marvel

    June 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    This is nonsense! Like with most policies, they sound good at the time of opening. What happened to the joke of the exercise that the NCC collated for mobile phones? Can’t they merge that? What type of fees are they expecting to collect? What of National ID cards? These ppl are stupid and it seems the consumers, even moreso. How would you stop Boko Haram or any terrorist groups by collecting some stupid random numbers? How will the number translate to DNA for rape cases. We just speak without reasoning…
    Which database will they use for these info? Who will manage it? What happened to the helmets that Fashola declared compulsory for Okada? What happened to the mental health tests for naughty drivers in Lagos? What happened to the daily Naira limit? Oputa panel results. You guys aren’t bored yet…
    Sanusi must go!!

  22. red john

    June 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Its funny how people with little knowledge like to defend what they do not understand all in the name of appearing sophisticated. There are serious privacy concerns here.
    Reasons why this is a bad idea-
    1)At the moment there are no proper data protection laws in Nigeria so anyone can get your data(including biometrics), sell it to different people including criminals without commiting a criminal offence.
    2) Even with laws in place, we all know they are hard to enforce in Nigeria.
    3) The identity card is unique for every Nigerian meaning that if someone obtains your unique number, they can view your whole life – address, bank details, phone number, lincense number e.t.c
    4) Like I said earlier, corrupt government officials will definitely sell your details to different groups including international bodies and criminals.

    5) There should be a balance between securing people’s lives and finances, and giving them some privacy.
    6) Nigeria is not ripe for these kinds of projects. It may help to track fraud and corruption but there has to be another way. There are more important things to tackle.

    I don’t know if there’s a new order or wotever but believe me it is all about control and it was predicted even in the bible. Eventually there be no hiding place for any one in this world and believe me you won’t like that.
    I run a tech company so I know what I am saying.

  23. Elle

    June 1, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I think this is a fantastic idea and could be the beginning of something fantastic for Nigerians. They don’t know it known but they will understand the magnitude of this initiative at a later time. However, this should not have come from the banking sector but more from the governmental level. However, I am glad it came from some level.

  24. ken

    June 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    IT IS A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT,i believed it is one of the recient reforms the general public has being lamenting about….again i do not blaim some ppe for alleging that it is of no use, remind u that rome wasnt build a ,a thousand miles stpes starts a day…what we must ask here is for government to continue the reforming and never stop or leave it to fall away as ussual

  25. CyberD

    June 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I am usually all for new initiatives and projects that promote progress and development in our country. I feel you always have to start somewhere right. (sometimes you need to tweak the nooks and iron out the little creases as you go on and all of that…So I’m usually quite optimistic)
    I am a fan of the CBN and all of the good work they have been doing under the leadership of Sanusi (the dude is cool) However, I think this time they may have got it wrong…. Are they attempting to run before they can even crawl? (I have not conducted any research into this so I may in fact be wrong) But my gut instinct inclines me to think that they may have just given the fraudsters a golden ticket. Good intentions aside, how can u make such a bold step, with insufficient privacy and data protection laws? In England and the US, if you are a victim of identity fraud it takes years to clear your name through structured and established channels…In Naij you will find yourself wrongfully accused, with no money, no redress and no avenue or institution to fight your corner…
    If my identity card falls in to the hands of a gang of criminals. (serious organized crime) what happens etc? I just don’t think our KYC procedures are ready to cope with this. Are the bank staff informed and trained on what to look out for and the minimum amount of documentation to accept. Are the bank staff now above corruption, are they ready to fight for the new naija?
    Are banks in the UK and the USA going to start demanding that Nigerians make this information available to them too before they do business with them. (Let’s face it, everyone thinks ALL Nigerians are fraudsters. Our international image is in tatters.
    Well, I hope this works for all our sakes. I don’t like people messing with my money. *serious face*

  26. posh

    June 1, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    I dun even know what to say

  27. Shee

    June 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    The government comes up with certain ideas that are unrealistic and yet some of us agree by saying it is good. This is crap. what is the essence of doing this, in the UK the reason they ask for all of these is to prevent illegal immigrant from having account and which would hinder them from enjoying the benefits of mortgages etc. You cannot start which such an idea when other logistics have not been into place. When ideas come up like that we do not think about other Nigerians and yet someone is saying it is to find the person that raped someone. So unreasonable. Will this idea stop them from bringing 5000naira note. Rubbish is that the problem that CBN has to deal with. Children do not know what 1naira coin looks like, and we are talking about identity rubbish. Nigeria needs help because we don not have visionary leaders, buy a time is coming that we would not allow this anymore. It is very soon because we would no longer sit in our comfort zones.

  28. oluchi

    June 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    He that have ears let him hear

  29. NNENNE

    June 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Great idea indeed! Just wish my country would enforce their laws. Anyway, we have to start from somewhere. A national database is very improtant in Nigeria…finger prints and all.

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