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Emefiele: Our decision on cryptocurrency in Nigeria’s interest

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  • ICPC, SEC back CBN 

Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has defended the apex bank’s ordering of banks, non-banking and other financial institutions not to facilitate trading and dealings in cryptocurrencies is in the nation’s best interest.

He stated this while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, ICT and Cybercrimes, and Capital Market, on its directive banning cryptocurrency trading.

He said the operations of cryptocurrencies were dangerous and opaque.

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligent Unit (NFIU), which also addressed the joint committee, said cryptocurrency was being used as a channel for funding violence and terrorism in Nigeria.

Emefiele said the use of cryptocurrency contravened the law, adding that the fact that cryptocurrencies are issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities, made it contrary to the mandate of the CBN, as enshrined in the CBN Act (2007) that empowers it as the issuer of legal tender in Nigeria.

Emefiele also differentiated between digital currencies, which apex banks can issue, and cryptocurrencies issued by unknown and unregulated entities.

He said that the anonymity, obscurity and concealment of cryptocurrencies made them suitable for those indulging in illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons and tax evasion.

Citing instances of investigated criminal activities that had been linked to cryptocurrencies, he stated that the legitimacy of money and the safety of Nigeria’s financial system were central to the mandate of the CBN.

“Cryptocurrency is not legitimate money because it is not created or backed by any central bank.

“Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system,” he said.

Emefiele faulted arguments that the CBN’s actions were inimical to the development of FinTech or a technology-driven payment system.

He stated that the Nigerian payment system, boosted by reforms driven by the CBN had evolved over the past decade, surpassing those of many of its counterparts in emerging frontier and advanced economies.

While urging that the issue of cryptocurrency be treated with caution, the CBN governor assured the committee that the bank would continue its surveillance and deeper understanding of the digital space.

He stated that the ultimate goal of the CBN was to do all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians on emerging financial risks and protect the financial system from the activities of currency speculators, money launderers, and international fraudsters.

Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, said there was no policy contradiction between the CBN directive and the pronouncements by the SEC on cryptocurrencies dealings in Nigeria.

He said the SEC made its pronouncement at the time to provide regulatory certainty within the digital asset space due to the growing volume of reported flaws.

He added that the CBN, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the SEC between 2018 and 2020 had warned on the lack of protection in investments in cryptocurrency.

Yuguda said following the CBN directive, the SEC had suspended the admittance of all persons affected by CBN circular into its proposed regulatory incubatory framework in order to ensure that only operators in full compliance with extant laws and regulations were admitted into the framework for regulating digital assets.

Chairman of the ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN), spoke on the risks of investing in virtual assets and cryptocurrencies in Nigeria.

He said cryptocurrencies posed serious legal and law enforcement risks for Nigeria due to its opaque nature and illicit financial flows.

He added that the current move by the Federal Government to link National Identification Numbers with SIM cards attested to the fact that terrorists, kidnappers, bandits and perpetrators in illegal acts had relied on the shield provided by anonymity to commit crimes.

 

Aviation

Rains: NiMet warns of severe turbulence, flight cancellations

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The Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Matazu, has said airlines will encounter severe turbulence, flight delays and cancellations during rainfall.
He therefore called on pilots and airline managements to adhere to the weather forecast as the likely severe turbulence could cause discomfort, injury to passengers, instability and even loss of control for small aircraft.
Matazu was quoted in a statement on Friday as saying, “Heavy rains could also lead to skidding of aeroplanes due to surface wetness and impaired horizontal visibility.
“Thunderstorms could also lead to accidents, incidents, flight delays, flight cancellation, death, damage among others.
“Windshear could lead to accidents, incidents, aircraft nosedive, discomfort, aircraft lost control and death.”
The NiMet boss urged airline operators to take weather forecast seriously, stating the turbulence usually would cause poor visibility.
He also called on passengers to be patient with the airlines as flight delays, flight cancellations and flight diversion will be experienced within this period.

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Navy arrests 10 vandals with smuggled 210,000 litres of diesel

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Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft have arrested 10 suspected vandals with 210,000 litre of stolen diesel.
The suspects were alleged to have attempted to smuggle the products concealed in water tanks to neighbouring Benin Republic through a wooden boat when they were intercepted around the Lagos anchorage.
A statement released on Friday by Base Information Officer, Sub-Lieutenant Veronica Effiong, said the suspects with the seized products had been handed over to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, after preliminary investigations.
She said, “The vandals and seized products were on Tuesday, June 15, handed over to the Lagos Command of the NSCDC for further investigation and prosecution.
“The Commander NNS BEECROFT Commodore Bashir Mohammed reiterated the NNS BEECROFT`s commitment to the protection of critical national infrastructure and the eradication of all illegal activities in its area of responsibility in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff`s mission statement and strategic directive of 2021-5.
“As partners for a safe maritime environment, members of the public especially our host communities are enjoined to kindly furnish the base with credible information to assist in curbing the activities of criminal elements and economic saboteurs.”

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Buhari challenges MTN on quality service, data rate

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the MTN Group to offer quality service to its Nigerian subscribers at cheaper rates.
He stated this when he received in audience members of the board of MTN Group, led by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
Buhari said, “I congratulate you on your appointment as the Group President of MTN. I wish you all the best.
“Nigeria is your most lucrative market in Africa, Asia and the Middle East as well as the source of a third of the income of the entire MTN Group. As such, we urge you to offer top-of-the-range and affordable services to Nigerians.
“As we seek to make broadband widely available and affordable, we urge MTN to continue to support our efforts by expanding high-quality connectivity to Nigerians in un-served and under-served areas.”
The President also called on MTN to support the implementation of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the telecommunications sector.
He said, “I recently unveiled and launched the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.
“I call on MTN to support the implementation of this policy and, train and engage more Nigerians in your company.”
He assured his visitors that his administration was doing everything possible to make Nigeria investor-friendly by addressing identified challenges.

He said, “We have identified and addressed the key challenges that affected the growth of the digital economy sector. I am happy to note that the right of way charges have now been pegged at a maximum of N145/linear metre.
“I have given directives for the protection of critical national infrastructure and this has addressed the issue of vandalism of such infrastructure.”

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