Nigerian Agencies Asked to Stop ‘Demonizing’ Crypto Players

The law enforcement and public agencies in Nigeria have been asked to stop their discrimination against crypto and blockchain-related entities. This request came from a crypto and blockchain industry association called the Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SIBAN). Their latest press release asks the agencies in Nigeria to not demonize the industry players because the country needs risk-based regulation related to the crypto industry. SIBAN said in the press release that cryptocurrencies had not been banned in the country via the directive issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) back on February 5th, 2021.

The association said that even though there wasn’t any law in Nigeria regarding the persecution and arrest of crypto-related entities, it turns out that the agencies are targeting the players in the industry. The statement further said that since the directive had been issued by the CBN last year, there have been instances where individuals or entities that are part of the crypto or blockchain industry in the country have found themselves facing undue detention and arrest, harassment, extortion, seizures, freezing and closures of bank accounts, intimidation, queries and discrimination. SIBAN asked the security agencies in Nigeria to acknowledge and recognize cryptocurrency and blockchain.

It went on to request banks as well as other financial institutions in Nigeria to understand the difference between crypto and blockchain. According to the advocacy group, the directive of the CBN should not be used by banks for denying services in situations where crypto is not involved. SIBAN also added that if banks and financial institutions continue to treat blockchain and crypto in the same way, then it would have an impact on the whole banking system. It added that this move would likely have repercussions. The group said that it would affect all blockchain-powered products and services in Nigeria, such as the eNaira of the central bank.

It is obvious that the CBN does not want to affect their own offerings. Therefore, the advocacy group said that capacity building was needed for ensuring that Nigerian agencies do not classify blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the same manner. SIBAN further added that all its members should continue to comply with the law, but stated that legal and administrative options would be considered if member rights are violated. But, the statement from the group indicates that they are willing to work with regulators where crypto is concerned, if they decide to reach out.