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Nigeria Court Upholds Central Bank Directive to Allow Banks Collect Customers Social Media Handles

Judge Nnamdi Dimgba said in a ruling on Thursday that the regulation, which was issued in 2023 in no way breaches bank customers’ right to privacy, even though a lawyer who had brought the matter to court argued otherwise.

A Lagos court has upheld a provision by Nigeria’s Central Bank to allow banks collect and verify the social media handles of customers, despite concerns about privacy.

Judge Nnamdi Dimgba said in a ruling on Thursday that the regulation, which was issued in 2023 in no way breaches bank customers’ right to privacy, even though a lawyer who had brought the matter to court argued otherwise.

“My view is that the provision of a social media handle is of the same genre as the provision of email address, phone numbers, and other means by which a potential customer of a bank can be contacted,” Justice Dimgba is reported to have said.

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Lagos-based lawyer, Chris Eke who filed the lawsuit against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had claimed that the regulation is undemocratic, unconstitutional, and violates sections of the country’s 1999 Constitution.

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The regulation according to authorities, however, would help combat financial crimes and terrorism, as Nigeria is one of the hotspots in Africa for such illegalities.

Although the regulation has not been implemented yet, the CBN projects it would also support banks’ Know Your Customer (KYC) processes that are aimed at increasing the thoroughness of customer identification.

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