Court Upholds CBN Regulation, Mandates Banks to Collect Customers’ Social Media Handles

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has upheld a new regulation by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandating financial institutions to collect customers’ social media handles as part of the Know-Your-Customer process.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, in a ruling on May 16, dismissed a suit brought by lawyer Chris Eke challenging the constitutionality of the regulation.

Eke argued that the new CBN regulation is undemocratic, unconstitutional, null and void, to the extent of its inconsistency with Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The applicant had asked the court, to grant an order of perpetual injunction, restraining CB from enforcing the regulation that requires financial institutions, to request customers’ social media handles as part of normal bank customer due diligence requirements.

However, Justice Dimgba ruled in favour of the CBN, stating that providing a social media handle is akin to providing other contact information and does not infringe on privacy rights. The court struck out the suit, noting that the regulation serves the legitimate purpose of conducting due diligence on prospective customers.

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