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Cryptocurrency ban: Celebrities, Nigerians lament

The recent order by the Central Bank of Nigeria which prohibits commercial banks and all non-banking financial institutions from transactions involving cryptocurrencies, has sparked reactions from Nigerians including celebrities.

Kemi Filani recalls that CBN gave the order this afternoon, stressing that all the institutions are to close the accounts of customers with cryptocurrency transactions immediately.

The CBN directive further added that breaches of the order will attract severe regulatory sanctions.

As expected, many Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure.

Human rights activist, Segun Awosanya described the CBN’s move as ill-advised, saying, “This is yet another developing horror story in our dying society. The govt via @cenbank is now shutting down cryptocurrency in a desperate move to block any ray of hope for the huge youth demographic they have largely failed. This won’t end well. This is ill-advised.”

Senator Ben Murray Bruce faulted the apex bank’s decision, saying, “I thought it’s universal knowledge that decisions or policy regarding finance or economy should never be hasty?”

Blogger Japhet Omojuwa said, “Individuals that can fund the entire Nigerian budget for donkey years are betting on Bitcoin but Hassan and Musa are afraid it could make Nigerians wealthy. Welcome to the Dark Age! Others are in the Age of Deep Learning. We are in The Age of Deep Poverty.”

In December 2020, Quartz Africa reported that Nigeria was number two in the global Bitcoin market after trading 60,215 Bitcoins in the last five years.

Nigeria got to the position in the market after young citizens who were shut out from local payment methods by the government opted for Bitcoin to fund the October 2020 EndSARS protest against police brutality and bad governance in the country.

DJ Switch, who partook in the EndSARS protest, expressed displeasure at the CBN order, saying, “If the ban on crypto by CBN is true, it points yet again to the ill-informed, backward, poverty promoting dinosaurs T-Rex leading us. Use your time to investigate and close accounts sponsoring terrorists in the country if you don’t know what to do!”

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