Why we banned crypto-currency transactions — CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria has explained why it banned cryptocurrency-related transactions in the country, claiming the digital currency is used for money laundering and terrorism.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has explained why it banned cryptocurrency-related transactions in the country, claiming the digital currency is used for money laundering and terrorism.

The regulator said this in a statement Sunday, days after affirming a 2017 directive to financial institutions to block cryptocurrency accounts.

The decision has sparked outrage from mostly young people in a country that is the world’s second-biggest user of virtual currencies like Bitcoins.

The statement by Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director, Corporate Communications, said the ban on such transactions will not have any negative impact on fintechs, Daily Trust reported Sunday.

CBN-Circular

“The use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria are a direct contravention of existing law,” the statement said, according to Daily Trust. “It is also important to highlight that there is a critical difference between a Central Bank issued Digital Currency and cryptocurrencies. As the names imply, while Central Banks can issue Digital Currencies, cryptocurrencies are issued by unknown and unregulated entities,” Mr Nwanisobi said.

“The question that one may need to ask therefore is, why any entity would disguise its transactions if they were legal,” he added.

“It is on the basis of this opacity that cryptocurrencies have become well-suited for conducting many illegal activities including money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons, and tax evasion.

“Many banks and investors who place a high value on reputation have been turned off from cryptocurrencies because of the damaging effects of the widespread use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities.

“The role of cryptocurrencies in the purchase of hard and illegal drugs on the darknet website called “Silk Road” is well known. They have also been recent reports that cryptocurrencies have been used to finance terror plots, further damaging its image as a legitimate means of exchange.

“More also, repeated and recent evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets rather than as means of payment, thus explaining the significant volatility and variability in their prices.”

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.