Central Bank of Nigeria, Criminal Activity, crypto assets, Cryptocurrency, financial risks, Fintech, Godwin Emefiele, Money Laundering, Nigeria, Nigeria Bitcoin, Nigerian Senate

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has defended the apex bank’s decision to exclude cryptocurrency transactions from the banking ecosystem. In his testimony before the Nigerian Senate, Emefiele claimed that the February 5 directive is “in the best interests of Nigerians.â€

Crypto Not Money

Immediately following the announcement of the CBN prohibition, Nigeria’s regulated financial institutions began to sever ties with crypto traders and exchanges. However, following an outcry over the move, some supportive members of the Nigerian Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions requested Emefiele to brief the legislative body on the rationale behind the CBN prohibition.

In justifying the move, the CBN governor told the Nigerian legislators that “cryptocurrency is not legitimate money†since it is not issued by any central bank. Using this argument, Emefiele then added:

As expected, the CBN governor also used his appearance before the legislative body to regurgitate the usual claims against cryptocurrencies. Further, in his bid to bolster the case against cryptocurrencies, a report reveals that Emefiele went on to share “instances of investigated criminal activities that had been linked to cryptocurrencies.†However, the report does not provide details on some of the “investigated cases.â€

No Contradictions Between CBN and the SEC

However, notwithstanding the CBN’s hardline stance on cryptocurrencies, Emefiele still claims that the central bank’s “actions were not in any way, shape or form inimical to the development of Fintech or a technology-driven payment system.†The CBN chief also reiterated that the central bank will do “all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians on emerging financial risks.â€

Meanwhile, in remarks made during the same meeting, Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied there had been policy contradictions between the two regulators. The report quotes Yuguda confirming that the SEC had “put on hold the admittance of all persons affected by CBN circular into its proposed regulatory incubatory framework.â€

Do you agree with CBN’s claims that the exclusion of cryptocurrency transactions protects the banking ecosystem? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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