Ban on Crypto currency: Senate invites CBN and SEC Chiefs

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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Nigerian Senate on Thursday resolved to invite the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele and the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda, for briefing  on the opportunities and threats of the Crypto currency on the nation’s economy and security, following the apex bank’s recent directive stopping all financial institutions from transacting in Crypto currencies.

They are to appear before the joint Committees on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime and Capital Market, chaired by Senators Uba Sani, Yakubu Oseni, and Ibikunle Amosun, who are to report back findings within two weeks.

The resolution was sequel to a motion titled, “CBN’s decision to stop Financial Institutions from transacting in Crypto currencies and matters arising there from” jointly sponsored by Senators Istifanus Gyang and Adetokunbo Abiru.

Senator Gyang presented the motion and noted that the CBN took the decision and followed its earlier directives in January 2017 and February 2018 which forbade banks not to use, hold, trade and/or transact in Crypto currencies.

According to him, “Crypto currency is both an opportunity and a threat, hence the Senate has a responsibility to ensure that the nation and citizens do not miss out on the opportunities that Crypto currency offers and in the same vein, mitigate and prevent likely consequential effects on the nation’s economy and security.”

He, however, added that “the decision of the CBN is said to have been predicated on the need to safeguard the Nigerian economy from the adverse effects of the Crypto currency regime which are unregulated digital or virtual currencies that are issued by anonymous entities and secured by cryptography.”

In her contribution to the motion, Senator Biodun Olujumi said Nigeria did not create crypto currency and therefore could not possibly kill its operation. She said Nigeria should not exclude itself from global technological developments shaping the world.

“We can regulate and manage crypto currency transactions in Nigeria. We cannot kill it because some of our youths are working hard and doing great in technology”, she said.

Also, Senator Solomon Adeola said the CBN’s ban on crypto currency was shying away from its oversight duties. He said it was important to invite the CBN governor to find out the regulations put in place to regulate the activities of those operating in crypto currency in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr.Ahmad Lawan, said that the CBN needs to educate Nigerians more on the issues of crypto currency transactions in Nigeria especially as to how it impacts the  economy and security.

He said the Senate wants to be briefed to have more information and be guided on next line of action, noting that the motion may not be the last on crypto currency as the issues are still developing.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu

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