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SERAP gives CBN 3 days to remove rules governing customers’ media handles or risk legal action

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, to immediately revoke its recently published Customer Regulations, which instructed financial institutions to collect data on customers’ social media handles for the purpose of identification. 

“Immediately delete the patently unlawful provisions in the Central Bank of Nigeria (Customer Due Diligence) Regulations directing banks to obtain information on customers’ social media handles for the purpose of identification,” SERAP has urged Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, acting governor of the CBN.

He was urged by the advocacy group to “withdraw Circular number FPR/DIR/PUB/CIR/007/076 of 20 June 2023 mandating banks and other financial institutions to implement and comply with the unlawful mandatory provisions on customers’ social media handles in the CBN Regulations.”

Kolawole Oluwadare, the deputy director of SERAP, also made this information public on Saturday in a statement. The group requested that CBN suspend the regulations because they are illegal and do not respect the privacy of customers’ personal information. The customer due diligence regulations that were published by the apex’s bank website on Friday serve as the context for SERAP’s response.

SERAP, however, asserted that “The CBN Regulations and directive to banks to obtain details of customer social media addresses violates Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy. It is incompatible with the rule of law and inconsistent with it. 

In carrying out its statutory duties, the CBN “ought to contribute to the advancement of respect for the rule of law and human rights and not undermine or violate these fundamental legal requirements and standards,” according to SERAP. The group warned CBN that failing to reverse the rules within three days would result in legal action.

“We appreciate it if the suggested actions are carried out three days after this letter is received and/or published. If you have not responded by then, SERAP will take all necessary legal action to compel you and the CBN to abide by our request in the interest of the public”, it was stated.

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