The Senate, on Thursday, summoned Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Lamido Yuguda, Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), over the recent ban on cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
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The senate said the explanation that would emanate from the briefings from the two regulatory bodies will assist it to “determine the opportunities and threats of the cryptocurrency on the nation’s economy and security.”
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This resolution of the upper chamber was sequel to its consideration of a motion titled: “CBN’s decision to stop Financial Institutions from transacting in Crypto currencies and matters arising therefrom” at plenary.
The motion was sponsored by Istifanus Dung Gyang and Adetokumbo Abiru.
Gyang, who presented the motion, urged his colleagues to note that the CBN has issued a directive stopping all financial institutions in the country from transacting in cryptocurrencies.
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The senator representing Plateau North district stressed that the directive of the apex bank was a follow up to its earlier directives in January, 2017 and February 2018, which “forbade banks not to use, hold, trade and/or transact in cryptocurrencies”.
He further informed the senate that the decision of the CBN was said to have been predicated on the need to safeguard the Nigerian economy from the adverse effects of the cryptocurrency regime, which according to him is “unregulated digital or virtual currencies that are issued by anonymous entities and secured by cryptography”.
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He observed that cryptography is a “method of encrypting and hiding codes that prevent oversight, accountability and regulation upon which the CBN says its use in Nigeria violates and contravenes existing law as only the CBN is authorized by law to issue legal tender”.
He added: “Concerned that crypto currency by nature is anchored on anonymity, obscurity and concealment of its patrons and actors making it difficult, if not impossible, to trace, track and uncover those that may deploy it for ignoble and illegal usage such as money laundering, terrorism financing, drug purchase, cybercrime, etc.
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“Aware that the action and directive of the CBN has attracted sharp reactions from Nigerians and has become a topical subject of national discuss; and
“Realized that 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.”
Senators in their contributions supported the motion.
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They approved the prayer of the motion to invite Emefiele and Yuguda, when it was put to voice vote by senate president, Ahmad Lawan.
The joint committee has been given two weeks to report back to the chamber.