SERAP sues the CBN over a regulation requiring bank customers’ social media handles

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has initiated legal proceedings against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its alleged negligence in addressing the regulatory requirement mandating banks to furnish their customers with social media handles.

The disclosure was made by SERAP in a statement on Sunday, as conveyed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

The Gist House recalls that in June, the central Bank issued a Customer Due Diligence Regulation 2023, which instructed banks to acquire customer information from social media platforms for identification purposes.

In the aforementioned legal case, bearing suit number FHC/L/CS/1410/2023, which was lodged on the preceding Friday at the esteemed Federal High Court in Lagos, the Society for Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the court to enforce an order mandating the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to rescind the aforementioned regulation.

As per the findings of SERAP, it has been determined that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) possesses a comprehensive array of mechanisms to authenticate customers, encompassing the employment of various identifiers such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN), Tax Identification Number (TIN), driver’s license, and passport.

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According to SERAP, the implementation of the regulation would potentially hinder the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and privacy of banks’ customers.

The regulations and directives issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) pertaining to banks and other financial institutions may potentially impose undue limitations on the constitutionally and internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression, and privacy, as well as the rights of victims to seek justice and obtain effective remedies.

The inclusion of customers’ social media handles or addresses as a method of identification would result in an imbalanced inhibitory impact on Nigerians’ ability to fully exercise their rights to online freedom of expression and privacy.

In the interim, it has come to the attention of The Gist House that a specific date has yet to be determined for the commencement of the suit’s hearing.

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