Nigerian senators oppose CBN's ban of cryptocurrency trading

Lawmakers say an outright ban is not the most effective solution to concerns raised by CBN.

Some senators agree with the public sentiment that cryptocurrency trading should be regulated instead [Tope Brown]

Pulse Nigeria

Nigerian senators have invited the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to explain the recent ban on cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria.

The apex bank last week directed Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions to close accounts of people using their systems for cryptocurrency trading.

Lawmakers frowned on the ban during plenary on Thursday, February 11, 2021 after a motion was raised by Senator Istifanus Gyang and Senator Tokunbo Abiru.

Senator Abiru said the ban will not automatically solve the challenges raised by the CBN as reasons for its action.

"Even our Security Exchange Commission (SEC) also recognized cryptocurrency as a financial asset they need to regulate," he noted.

Senator Solomon Adeola also spoke against the ban, noting that an outright ban is not the most effective solution.

He said the apex bank should be more interested in regulating the medium of exchange in the country.

"All over the world, these cryptocurrencies are regulated. The operators of this so called currency are everywhere," he said.

Senator Biodun Olujimi said Nigerian youths are doing great business with cryptocurrency and should not be left to suffer the consequences of the ban.

"We didn’t create cryptocurrency and so we cannot kill it and cannot also refuse to ensure it works for us," she said.

Despite the general mood against the ban, Senator Sani Musa expressed support for the ban, noting that Nigeria's weak economy is prey to cryptocurrency trading.

He said the technology used to operate cryptocurrency makes it hard to regulate, and that Bitcoin has made the naira 'almost useless or valueless'.

Senators passed a motion for Emefiele to appear before the Joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, ICT and Cybercrimes, and Capital Market.

The CBN governor is expected to brief lawmakers on the opportunities and threats of cryptocurrency trading on Nigeria's economy and security.

The joint committees will present a report on their findings in two weeks.

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