The Nigerian Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, to commence an elaborate campaign against investment in Bitcoin by Nigerians.
The decision followed a motion sponsored by Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, who requested for immediate action against continuous investment in Bitcoin
In his lead debate on the motion, Uwajumogu expressed displeasure with the alarming rate at which Bitcoin, a form of digital currency, is being proliferated in Nigeria as one of the best forms of investment.
He added that the crypto-currency is openly marketed across the country on the local television and radio stations, mostly to Nigerians not aware of the consequences.
He further stated that Bitcoin is not recognized by the CBN, does not exist in any tangible form and is also not subject to any international or local monetary regulations or backed by any established government institution for that matter.
Uwajumogu said: “Aware that JP Morgan, the world-renowned investment bank, in a conference held in New York City USA, and as reported in the US guardian, noted that ‘the digital currency (bitcoin) was only fit for drug dealers and would eventually blow up.’
“The MMM bubble of 2016 left millions of Nigerian families broken, devastated and many businessmen lost all their capital in the phony scheme.
“That the primary objective of the government is to protect the life and welfare of its citizens, including their investments.”
Speaking in support of the motion, Senator Dino Melaye called for regulations by the appropriate authorities in Bitcoin.
Melaye said: “Many lost their lives due to MMM.
“No country, no intelligence agency will allow financial scams like MMM, Bitcoin to operate in the borders of their country, Nigeria is so docile that everything comes in.
“If it is a lottery, it should go through national lottery commission.
“If it is a form of exchange of currency, the CBN can regulate that.
“The motion is coming because as a Senate we need to defend the people.”
Also in his own contribution, the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, called for Senate intervention in the investment in Bitcoin so that many Nigerians will not be defrauded.
Na’Allah said: “I don’t do internet banking, I like to count my money myself. I’m analogue, I don’t want to go digital, It is safe that way.
“They will just go and pop up something and return them (Nigerians) back to square one.
“It is not nice, it is not ethical and I think we must intervene in this kind of situation.”
After exhaustive debate on the motion, the Senate called on the National Orientation Agency to spread the news against Bitcoin and other forms of wonder banks operating in Nigeria.