Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan has called on the Federal Government  to give more time for bank customers to link their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) with their National Identification Numbers (NIN).

Archbishop of Ibadan, Gabriel Abegunrin, made the call, yesterday, at a news conference in Ibadan.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given March 1 as the stipulated time for the exercise, lest customers have their accounts blocked. However, banks have continued with the exercise, urging their customers to act accordingly before the announcement of a new deadline.

Abegunrin said the exercise should be allowed to go on for as long as possible to ease the stress citizens face in trying to align with the regulation.

According to him, the government should seek to provide infrastructure that will make the exercise easier and faster.

The archbishop remarked that while the government might mean well with the exercise, its implementation had caused much distress and anxiety.

“After the cashless policy and scarcity of naira in 2023, the banking sector must not be seen again as causing pain and stress to citizens who want to have easy access to their money. Bearing in mind the economic hardship, we call on governments, at all levels, to rise to the occasion.

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“Social welfare packages should be extended to all citizens; let funds allocated for the people be used for the purpose and not otherwise.”

He also enjoined the Oyo State government to ensure the various security outfits in the state provide adequate security for all and sundry.

According to him, if security is lacking, individuals would resort to jungle justice, which can affect the peaceful co-existence of people in the state.

He expressed concern that the lack of jobs and harsh economic realities had continued to drive many young ones to seek greener pastures outside the shores of Nigeria.

Abegunrin said while the ‘japa’ syndrome might provide some economic benefits, it would, in the long run, lead to brain drain and depopulation of the society.

Abegunrin urged Christians and Muslims observing the religious obligation of fasting to use the period to pray for the country and Oyo State. “If we all truly care for one another as true descendants of Abraham, our two religions will become effective instruments of peaceful co-existence and collaboration in the state. We, therefore, call on other religions to continue to preach love and solidarity and enjoin their followers to shun hatred and dissension.”