Nigerian Lawyer Turned Politician Backs Cryptocurrencies, Looks To Create Legal Framework

Femi Gbajabiamila, a Nigerian lawyer, All Progressives Congress Leader, and House Leader of Nigeria's 8th House of Representatives recently spoke in lengths about cryptocurrencies, especially the need for regulations around it.

In order to keep Nigeria on track with technological progress, the legislation looks necessary around cryptos and blockchain technology. During his visit by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) led by its chairman, Ronke Sokefun, Gbajabiamila said that the corporation’s approval was significant to the financial sector of Nigeria’s economy.

“On the issue of cryptocurrency, I think block-chain technology is novel and coming up strong. We don’t want to be left behind. Not too long ago, a group of world leaders, G20 met in Osaka, Japan and one of the issues they discussed was block-chain technology and cryptocurrency. They had a sub-group of leaders called the V20 established from that meeting. It’s an assemblage of virtual currency representatives. I think the world is taking the issue of cryptocurrency and block-chain technology seriously. We don’t want to be left behind, and we have to take it seriously.”

Apart from cryptos, he spoke about the responsibility of the NDIC and building the well-defined distinction between it and the country’s central bank. He states:

“There seems to be a blurry line over some of your functions and that of CBN: some overlapping functions. I think we need to structure NDIC so that the lines are clearly defined. I’m sure if that hasn’t happened already, there will be times, if not now but in the future when those grey areas might cause issues between you and the CBN.‎”

In Nigeria, Bitcoin’s legal status is largely ambiguous. The Nigerian Central Bank issued a statement banning any transactions in Bitcoins. However, most crypto exchanges continued to operate as usual. Later on, Musa Jimoh, a senior director in the Central Bank of Nigeria, clarified to the media that the CBN had no legal authority to regulate Bitcoins or any cryptocurrency exchange.

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