NIBSS clarifies issues on Diasporans’ BVN project



THE Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) said the planned data capturing of Nigerians in Diaspora under the Bank Verification Number (BVN) project, would be sustained.

Besides, it noted that plans are underway to evolve a modality in which registrants can verify their status and obtain their numbers too, as a foil against the delays in getting the number after registration, within two and three weeks time.

The Managing Director of NIBSS, Ade Shonubi, while speaking with journalists in Lagos, at the weekend, said the choice of Online Integrated Solution (OIS) to drive the Diasporans registration was in consideration of its global reach and previous transactions with Nigeria’s External Affairs Ministry.

Shonubi, who lamented recent misinformation over the Diasproran registrations, however, pledged that NIBSS would be proactive in information management over the exercise, adding that it would henceforth redirect queries sent banks to itself as the driver of the project.

Meanwhile, two lenders have indicated interest to register their Diasporan customers in response to the clearance by the Central Bank of Nigeria, without breaking the laws of the country.

Diamond Bank and Ecobank have approached the NIBSS to express willingness for the task, with Ecobank focusing on the West African region where OIS may not reach on time, while Diamond Bank is targeting its affiliate countries.

Shonubi, who also lauded the development, said it presents another opportunity for Nigerians that are living in those areas to register on time, as the banks said the exercise would be without charges to customers.

Speaking on the operations of OIS in the scheme, NIBSS chief said to ensure this service, the management discussed with OIS on a service charge, just as Nigerians also pay when seeking visa, usually £50.

He explained that after serial discussions and consideration, they finally ended up with £30 because they will use a different application for visa capturing, which is devised for the project to ensure security.

“We do not know OIS before now. It was a result of search for ways to get Diasporans data that we found out their support for the Ministry of External Affairs and those who issue visa. We discovered that they had valid agreement with the ministry.
“OIS is the one taking the charge and not paying us one kobo. There is nothing that comes to us in any shape, form or manner. We only said they should recover the cost. They have also agreed to go to countries where there is no Nigerian bank-China, India, two or three locations U.S, with huge locations of Nigerians.

He reiterated that OIS has been in existence, with global presence, not just a newly formed company, nor friends of NIBSS.

He also explained that the arrangement was done by NIBSS and not CBN, as it is its responsibility to ensure that all banks’ customers are registered and provided with the number, adding that it would be unfair to attack the apex bank for everything about the exercise.

Shonubi pointed out that the enthusiasm that greeted the exercise at the unveiling of OIS attracted large number to its office for the registration, even as the Metropolitan Police was attracted due to the queue.

OIS, after the observation, discussed with us on the new plans to go by online registration, where each person would now get appointment on the day to come for the enrolment, which we have communicated to banks already.

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