The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has recovered N51.9 billion illegally deducted by commercial banks in the past five years and returned it to customers.
Acting director, corporate communications of the CBN, Isaac Okorafor, made this known while speaking at an interactive session with stakeholders in the south-south zone in Port Harcourt.
Okoroafor, who was represented by John Attah, an assistant director of the bank, said the recovery and return of the funds to customers became necessary after complaints of illegal deductions from accounts of commercial bank customers got to the apex bank.
He said the exact amount recovered and returned by the CBN consumer protection department was N51,913,350,828.85, explaining that $18,191,444.19, €26.286,62 and £6,000 were also recovered within the period.
The acting director said the CBN received 10,548 complaints and the amounts recovered were from 5,746 resolved cases.
“When such complaints are received, the CBN will embark on a thorough investigation of what happened and how the deductions were made. If we discover that the bank was wrong, we will write and order the bank to return the money to the customer’s account,” he said.
“We do not keep this kind of money in any special account. Someone owns it and the banks know the accounts from where they made the deductions. So, we mandate them to pay it back into the accounts.”
Expressing the bank’s commitment to customers’ protection, Okorafor said the interactive session was aimed at educating stakeholders, particularly labour unions, on some of the financial policy drives of the bank.
Speaking about bank verification number, he said the BVN was introduced to solve the problem of customer identification using fingerprints
“People use different names to open different accounts for different reasons and purposes; but with the help of the BVN, we should be able to know who is operating what account irrespective of the name. This has made criminals and fraudsters, who are operating secret accounts, to abandon their accounts in order not to be caught.”