The Nigerian Senate on Thursday summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele over ban on use of cryptocurrency in the country.
The legislators resolved to mandate the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institution ICT and Cybercrimes, and Capital Market to invite the CBN Governor for briefing on the opportunities and threats of the Cryptocurrency on the nation’s economy and security and to report back findings within two weeks.
Senator ID Gyang moved the motion on CBN’s decision to stop Financial Institutions from transacting in Cryptocurrencies and matters arising therefrom.
Gyang’s motion was seconded by Senator Tokunbo Abiru who said “The last five years, we have had people changing cryptocurrencies to over 500 million dollars. It is good to ban because of the challenges it has presented; in reality, banning it doesn’t take it away.
Abiru said further, “Even our Security Exchange Commission (SEC) also recognized cryptocurrency as a financial asset they need to regulate. What we should do is to invite the major stakeholders to a public hearing.”
Opposing both senators, Senator Solomon Adeola said he was against the outright ban by CBN. He said the CBN should tell Nigerians regulations it has put in place to regulate the activities of the operators and not an outright ban.
“I would indulge this Senate to allow the regulators also to be invited so that they can also tell the Committees their own position concerning the operation of cryptocurrency in Nigeria, Senator Adeola said.
Senator Biodun Olujimi also said that what can be done is to ensure bad people must not use it. She said the time has come that issues concerning cryptocurrency are harmonized.
On Friday, the CBN directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
The apex bank gave the direction in a circular released to deposit money banks (DMBs), non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), and other financial institutions (OFIs).
The ban led to outrage from Youths across the country with many demanding that the ban be reversed.