The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the implementation of its directive that banks should add customers’ social media handles as means of identification.

This was the resolution of the House today following a motion sponsored by nine members of the house.

It would be recalled that CBN had released its Customer Due Diligence Regulations 2023, noting that the inclusion of social media would galvanize compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance provisions.

While leading the debate on the motion, Honourable Kelechi Nwogu, said the policy is commendable but violates section 37 of the constitution which guarantees privacy rights.

He said financial institutions in the country already have the names, telephone numbers, passport photographs, emails, national identification numbers (NIN), biometric verification numbers (BVN), utility bills and other basic requirements with which to identify, know and monitor customers.

Part of the concerns of the House was the untold hardship the directive would cause millions of Nigerians, especially the illiterates, or semi-literate business owners, traders and entrepreneurs living in villages and rural areas who do not have social media handles.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the practice of excess charges and illegal deductions by commercial banks in Nigeria.

This was contained in a motion moved by Honourable Godwin Offiono during plenary today.

In his motion, Honourable Offiono accused commercial banks of causing hardship to customers through excess charges and illegal deductions, adding that the banks also charge outrageous interest rates on loans.

He noted that the banks violate the Central Bank /Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria guideline with the arbitrary charges.

The lawmaker also raised concerns about the wrong application of maintenance fees, banks overcharging maintenance fees, the inclusion of transactions exempted from maintenance charge, loan liquidation and bank-induced transactions amongst others.

The house resolved to constitute a Committee on Banking and Currency that would investigate the issue of excess charges and illegal deductions by commercial banks in Nigeria and report back within four weeks for further action.

They also resolved to constitute a Committee on Legislative Compliance that would ensure implementation.