Sunday, 21 June 2015

Exclissive: Bank Verification Number

By now, just about every person with a bank account in Nigeria should have registered and received their BVN. The BVN is a unique identifier aimed at streamlining personal information across all banks in Nigeria. It should eliminate multiple identities and reduce fraud. As tech security professionals are working to make sure our assets in the banks are protected, the bad boys are working just as hard to devise new ways to defraud you.
This past week, I received an email, purportedly from my bank, telling me there were some issues with my BVN, and asking me to follow a link to rectify the issues. Unfortunately, I deleted the mail in annoyance without reading the details, which might have been worth sharing. The email address was masked to look like it was coming from a bank, but my first tip off that the bad boys were at work was that the email was supposedly coming from a bank that I no longer do business with.
Some banks have sent out emails sensitising their customers to the BVN and warning them not to respond to emails asking for their BVN. Please beware and protect yourself. It should not be easy for the bad boys to cause havoc in your financial life because thumbprints are associated with BVNs, but one cannot take anything for granted.
Therefore, I just want to add my voice to the banks in saying that we must all be vigilant and protect our BVNs. Do not share your BVN with anyone. Do not follow any links to the internet to update any personal details related to your bank accounts. Carry out all BVN, mobile banking password, etc details at the bank branch close to you or through the bank customer service telephone number found either on your ATM card or on the bank’s website. When you go to the bank, only deal with someone seated behind a desk or counter, with visible identification, not just any random person in the banking hall who claims that they want to help you. For those of you who have received your BVN card, keep it in a very safe place. Your wallet is probably not the best place to keep the card. The card has your BVN and thumb print. If your wallet gets stolen, who knows what the bad boys can get up to with the card?
Apapa’s short-lived joy
Only last month, a short three weeks ago, we got a reprieve from the heavy traffic in Apapa after the Lagos State government gave an ultimatum concerning articulated vehicles in Apapa. Well, sad to say, we are back to experiencing horrendous traffic in Apapa. We desperately need a lasting solution. There is great risk to lives and property, environmental degradation and decline in property values. Hope springs eternal in Nigeria, so those of us who cannot afford to move out of Apapa are here hoping that someone will take notice and take the situation serious enough to implement the drastic, lasting solution needed to return Apapa’s sanity.
I belong to nobody…  
President Buhari’s inauguration speech on May 29, 2015 included the statement, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, a great sound bite that inspired a few jokes and memes on social media. One of these was of a boyfriend confronting his cheating girlfriend who responds, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.” For some reason, it took my mind to Prince Nico Mbarga’s hit song “Christiana.” In the song, Prince Nico Mbarga narrates the story of Christiana’s jilted lover. From what I understand (my mum who speaks Igbo once translated for me), the lover showers Christiana with gifts and even funds her education abroad expecting her hand in marriage. Christiana plays along, completes her education and returns to Nigeria, but when the lover broaches the subject of their marriage, Christiana breaks his heart and tells him, “I am sorry o”… (Basically, you’re not the one for me). It made for good music in the 70s but many years later, a jilted lover by the name of Alhaji Atta wasn’t going to sit back and sing a sad love song; he took his matter to court instead. On the issue of breach of promise to marry, the judges had no balm for his broken heart. Pats-Acholonu, J.S.C. (as he was) said, “In fact this is a case that the respondent should have spared himself the agony of going through the court processes. For him, when the going was good he lavished love (I imagined it was reciprocated) money and eventually landed property on the appellant. When the tide turned, he fell back on non-existent agreement to marry and urged the court to go the extra mile of pronouncing the existence of a resulting trust. I refuse to lend hand to assuage the feelings of a lover whose romance went awry. The love that once bound these two people and now got frosted can be likened to verse xxxv of Shakespeare ‘Sonnets’ a sort of lamentation, and also verse 1 of ‘Passionate Pilgrim’. Thus we have in this case so much love and then so much pain. It is the way of the world.” [Ezeanah v. Atta (2004) 7 NWLR]
These judges have no mercy sometimes.

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