Court Clears Access, UBA, GTB, Other Banks To Demand Customers’ Social Media Account, Gives Reason

Court Clears Access, UBA, GTB, Other Banks To Demand Customers’ Social Media Account, Gives Reason

  • A federal high court has given the go-ahead for Access, UBA, GTB, and other banks to demand customers’ social media accounts
  • The social media account request, directed by the CBN, has generated a lot of strong criticism from Nigerians
  • The CBN believes this will enhance its fight against money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing. journalist Dave Ibemere has over a decade of business journalism experience with in-depth knowledge of the Nigerian economy, stocks, and general market trends.

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has cleared the Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) directive to banks to add social media handles as part of the Know Your Customer Requirements for bank customers.

Bank customers social media account
Nigerian bank customers to submit social media accounts Photo credit: sabilaw
Source: Facebook

ChannelsTV reports that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba gave the clearance while responding to a suit filed by Chris Eke, a Lagos-based lawyer.

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In the suit, the applicant asked the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining CBN from enforcing the regulation requiring financial institutions to request customers’ social media handles as part of normal bank customer due diligence requirements.

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The CBN in its response to the suit, filed a notice of preliminary objection, challenging the competence of the suit.

The apex bank also disagreed that the regulation, as claimed, interferes with the applicant's private life.

Court rules on CBN favour

In his judgment, Justice Dimgba agreed with the CBN's preliminary objection and he subsequently struck out the suit.

Explaining his decision, the judge noted that the provision of a social media handle is the same as the provision of email address, phone numbers and other means by which a potential customer of a bank can be contacted and or due diligence, to determine if the person is a fit and proper person for the bank to do business with, and as such, the regulation does not amount to an infringement on the right to privacy.

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Justice Dimgba stressed that the essence of having a social media account was for one to be publicly visible communication-wise, and it would be highly unreasonable to hold the CBN in breach of privacy for it.

The judge's words"

“First, the Applicant claims that the requirements on the CBN Regulations for financial institutions to request and collect the social media handle of its customers as part of KYC infringes on his right to privacy.
“My view is that providing a social media handle is the same as providing an email address, phone numbers, and other means of contacting a potential bank customer.
“I do not see how this infringes on the right to privacy."

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