By Chuks Emele
The Central Bank of Nigeria asked financial institutions in the country to desist from dealing in or facilitating trade in crypto-currencies, saying they remain illegal in the country.
“Dealing in crypto-currencies or facilitating payments for crypto-currency exchanges is prohibited,” the regulator said in a circular posted on its website.
Banks and financial institutions were consequently asked to identify accounts transacting in crypto-currencies and close them immediately, according to the statement. “Please note that breaches of this directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions, ” the central bank said in the statement.
The decision will prove a blow to Nigeria’s crypto-currency enthusiasts, who have invested 566 million dollars worth of bitcoins between May 2015 and November 2020, making it the second only to the U.S.
It might also appear to be a further crackdown on anti-government protesters that paralyzed the country with marches for police reforms last October, and at a point received donations in crypto-currencies to fund the protests.