- It came as a surprise on Friday, February 5, when Nigeria's apex bank, CBN, directed banks to close accounts related to cryptocurrencies
- Former VP Atiku Abubakar is one of the many Nigerians that have criticised this move
- Atiku said regulating the sub-sector may be a better option than an outright shutdown
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has been advised by former vice-president Atiku Abubakar not to shut down cryptocurrency business.
According to him, the sector should be regulated instead of an outright shutdown.
This was contained in a statement shared on his Facebook page on Saturday, February 6.
This follows the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday, to all banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions.
The former vice president is of the opinion that this is the wrong time for such policies to be introduced. He said:
“This is definitely the wrong time to introduce policies that will restrict the inflow of capital into Nigeria, and I urge that the policy to prohibit the dealing and transaction of cryptocurrencies be revisited.
“It is possible to regulate the sub sector and prevent any abuse that may be inimical to national security. That may be a better option, than an outright shutdown."
Atiku said youth unemployment is the number challenge facing Nigeria and this has an effect on the economy.
He further cited severe economic losses suffered from the border closure and the #COVID19 pandemic.
The politician noted that there is already immense economic pressure on Nigerian youths. He said it is the responsibility of the government to reduce this pressure, rather than adding to it.
The CBN's decision to ban the cryptocurrency-related accounts in all financial institutions across Nigeria has been trailed by a whirlpool of reactions.
Nigerians on social media have continued to question the logic behind the development.
Legit.ng earlier reported that many described the move as a deliberate attempt to kill innovation and self-employment, and close the gate to the reality of a digitally-evolving world.
Popular political analyst and activist, Japhet Omojuwa, wrote:
"They can’t claim crypto traders in Nigeria are faceless. You register with your BVN. You are verified based on KYC principles. This is nothing but a desperate attempt to ensure we are happy with “poverty alleviation” moves. Instead of the wealth innovation brings."
Former senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani also wrote:
"Why the ban on Cryptocurrency? Why are we running backwards?"