The Nigerian Senate on Thursday directed the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele to appear before its Committees on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, ICT and Cybercrimes, and Capital Market to brief it on the recent decision to ban cryptocurrency in the country.
The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda was also summoned to appear before the committees on the same issue.
The summon follows a motion sponsored by Senator Istifanus Dung Gyang, (Plateau North) and Senator Adetokumbo Mukhail Abiru, (Lagos East) on the recent decision of the CBN to prohibit cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.
It will be recalled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered banks in the country to shut down the accounts of cryptocurrency traders.
The CBN in its directive, told Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), and Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) local financial institutions to stop any transactions in crypto or facilitating payments for crypto exchanges.
The apex bank in the circular signed by Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, and Director, Payments System Management Department, Musa I Jimoh warned that disobedience to the directive will attract sanctions.
However, the Senate on Thursday declared that the CBN and SEC as concerned regulatory bodies need to explain the reason for the ban to lawmakers which will, in turn, inform their next step as representatives of the people.
While presenting the motion during plenary, Senator Dung Gyang observed that crytocurrency involves 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.
“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.”
Other Senators in their contribution supported the motion and when it was put to a voice vote by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the motion was approved.
The committees given the assignment have two weeks to report back to plenary.
Meanwhile, Femi Falana (SAN) has stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) lacked the power to appeal the court judgment unfreezing the bank account of 20 #EndSARS campaigners.
Recall that the order to freeze the bank accounts linked with some promoters of the #EndSARS protest was on Wednesday set aside by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
In a ruling on Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed ordered all concerned banks to immediately unfreeze the affected accounts.