Monday, October 23, 2017 6.00pm/Proshare WebTV
Following the recent ruling by Justice
Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, granting the request by the Attorney
General of the Federation for a temporary forfeiture of bank accounts not
linked to BVNs, experts have reacted to the decision.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Professor
of Law Konyinsola Ajayi, has called for the full adherence to the rule of law,
by the Federal Government.
Prof Ajayi in an interview with Proshare
News said “I support the Federal Government’s policy on money-laundering, but
the rule of law must be adhered to, to ensure innocent Nigerians are not
He said “The whole development is broad in
scope and needs more clarity from the government, on why it is taking this
decision. Nigeria has a vibrant diaspora community, of whom many have dormant
accounts that they have not been able to do their bank verification number
because they have not visited the country in a while”.
The Legal expert asserted that there was a
significant problem with the temporary forfeiture of the accounts, when the
courts have not given final judgments on the case. According to him “Does the
Nigerian court have the capacity to attend to over 1ml Nigerians that will have
to demonstrate the ownership of their accounts”.
Ajayi noted that this decision could
impact the Nigeria Diaspora community, especially the remittances that come in
annually into the country.
Section 17 (5) of the Foreign
Exchange Act of the Central Bank of Nigeria says no foreign currency opened in
a domiciliary account, shall be liable to seizure or forfeiture by the State or
He also expressed concerns about what will
happen to the accounts of those who were sick and minors in the country.
Speaking further the Legal scholar
established the fact that the Foreign Exchange Act of the Central Bank of
Nigeria does not demand disclosure of the source of the foreign exchange, to be
sold in the market(Section 3(1) of the CBN Foreign exchange act of 1995).
At the moment only 28.6ml Nigerians have
their bank accounts linked to the BVN, while about 46 million accounts are yet
to be linked.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla justified the government action in a recent interview
on Channels Television. Obla said “Our laws are not even as strict as what we
find in the United States, if you do not operate a bank account for three
years, all the money in that account goes to the federal government of the
United States of America”.
The Presidential aide was of the view that
the failure to comply with CBN directive on BVN two years after, signalled that
the accounts in question could be fraudulent.