By now, one would have thought that all bank accounts in Nigeria are linked to the Bank Verification Number, BVN as mandated by the regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN since 2014.

But that is far from the reality. More than four years after the policy was introduced, only 51%, which translates to about 36.8 million of active bank accounts in the country.

This is according to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems, NIBSS as of February 17 this year.

The number of active bank accounts, according to the NIBSS data, is 71.79 million.

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BVN is a unique number for customers of banks in Nigeria, which contains biometric details of customers including the fingerprint of all ten fingers and facial image.

The biometric identification was introduced to address identity theft, reduce exposure to fraud and enhance the banking industry’s chances of being able to fish out blacklisted customers, among others.

Analysis of the data showed that the total number of bank accounts as of the end of January 2019 was 118.9 million.

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