NGWIPR raises eyebrow on CBN’s KYC policy

By Abimbola Mohammed

Against the backdrop of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) directives requiring commercial banks to obtain social media handles and digital identification of customers as a mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) policy in the financial services sector, the Nigerian Women in Public Relations & Communication (NGWIPR) has aired concerns regarding the policy.

The new CBN regulation stipulates that by including social media handles as part of the customer identification process, banks will gain further insights into customers’ online presence and activities, helping them to assess potential risks and monitor suspicious behaviour.

Following the development, NGWIPR, an impact association set up to advocate and provide growth resources to Nigerian women in PR & communication, noted via its Twitter handle that, even though the policy could help enhance security measures as well as unauthorized transactions on social media platforms, there are concerns regarding customer privacy, data security, and the potential for misuse or abuse of social media account information.

The tweet read: “For Nigerians, this directive may have several implications. On the positive side, it could help enhance security measures by allowing banks to monitor and identify potential fraudulent activities or unauthorized transactions on social media platforms. It may also enable banks to communicate with customers more effectively and provide personalized services through social media channels. However, it is important to note that privacy concerns may arise as customers’ social media information becomes part of their banking records.”

Reviewing what the policy means from a professional standpoint, the organization explained what the policy means for Nigerians, how it would help improve Nigerians’ social media conversation with respect to public relations.

“In terms of improving Nigerian social media conversations, the directive might have limited impact. While it can enable banks to engage with customers on social media platforms, the responsibility for fostering positive conversations primarily rests with the individuals and social media users themselves. It would require efforts from both individuals and institutions to create a more positive and constructive online environment.”

From a public relations perspective, NGWIPR stated that the directive has its pros and cons, which include enhanced customer engagement, improved customer service through social media channels, and better monitoring of potential risks.

“Banks would need to ensure transparent communication with customers, addressing their concerns and safeguarding their privacy to maintain a positive public image.

“Overall, while the directive may have some benefits in terms of security and customer service, careful implementation and consideration of privacy and ethical aspects are essential to mitigate potential drawbacks and maintain a healthy balance between customer convenience and privacy rights,” NGWIPR stated.

It would be recalled that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a non-governmental organisation, described the directive as unlawful and a violation of “Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy.” In a public letter, SERAP vowed to take all appropriate legal actions to compel the CBN to comply with its request in the public interest.


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