Nigeria’s Senate Asks Central Bank Chief to Explain Crypto Ban

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The Nigerian Senate has invited the country’s key financial regulators to a briefing after the central bank ordered local financial institutions to cease providing services to crypto companies and users last Friday.

The Nigerian Tribune reported Thursday that the Senate had mandated its Banking Committee to invite Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission Director General Lamido Yuguda at a time to be determined and explain the opportunities and Cryptocurrency Risks. The Senate meeting that discussed the issue was tweeted live on the Senate’s official Twitter page.

Last week’s CBN policy caused a stir on social media while local crypto advocates wrote to the bank asking for clarification on the order. In response, the CBN released a five-page statement that included a pledge to protect Nigerian citizens from the risks posed by cryptocurrencies.

“[The CBN] will continue to do everything within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians to refrain from using it and to protect our financial system from the activities of fraudsters and speculators, ”the statement said.

However, a number of senators opposed the CBN move and an outright ban on crypto, despite advocating regulation of the industry.

“The next level is cryptocurrency, which we cannot run away from. It is the responsibility of CBN to take Nigerians to the next level without discouraging them. This is the easiest type of exchange, ”said Senator Bassey Akpan.

Despite its risks and dangers, crypto has its merits, Senator Dung Gyang said, adding that lawmakers want the CBN governor to inform them of the risks and opportunities crypto presents to the nation so that Nigeria doesn’t “miss out”.

Another senator, Solomon Adeola, said he was “strongly against” the CBN’s outright ban on crypto and that the bank should regulate the room instead.

According to the Nigerian Tribune report, the Senate will take an informed position on the matter after the briefing.

Senator Adetokumbo Abiru, who co-sponsored the motion, said cryptocurrency is an important transactional tool and employer for “teething teens” in the country.

“So I’m not sure the CBN can ban it,” said Sen. Abiru.

Nigerian crypto users seemed largely undeterred after the CBN policy went into effect and turned to peer-to-peer exchange platforms to continue trading. Nigerian peer-to-peer trading has surged past two of Africa’s largest crypto markets, Kenya and South Africa, since the announcement.