A former presidential aspirant and information Technology expert, Adamu Garba, spoken in favour of the recent policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria that Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions, and other financial institutions should not do business in crypto and other digital assets saying, it will assist Nigeria in its fight against terrorism.
He noted that the CBN ban would affect the financial transactions of terrorists and bandits, who through cryptocurrencies, get funding from their financiers and international sponsors for the purchase of arms and ammunitions.
According to Garba, the CBN decision would put an end to the funding of non-state actors or protests like the #EndSARS protest. Such demonstrations also receive financial supports through cryptocurrencies he said.
Garba said, “When government is taking this decision, there could be national economic implications as well as national security implications. You and I know that the #EndSARS protests although very well-organised, the demands very clearly stated, but eventually it was turned into something of an uprising and an insurrection than what it was supposed to be.
“When you look at the destruction that happened in Lagos, we can’t say that that was the original intention of #EndSARS.
“If these sources of funds keep coming, amplifying that kind of insurrection that is capable of destroying law and order in the country, then, of course, it justifies why that (crypto ban) should be done.
“Additionally, even the terrorist organisations that we have now, the bandits, the Boko Haram. Most of these guys now know how to use cryptocurrencies.
“Terrorism is a global network; it is not an isolated happening, especially when it comes to finance and weapons. These people have collaborations and the possibility that they keep sustaining their war on the Nigerian state by causing so much havoc on the country through those back channels that cannot be visible is also there. So, if you shut them out of the Nigerian system, I believe it is a good thing”
He added that this policy might not completely stifle the cash flow of terrorists but
“it will create friction to some of the otherwise smooth processes that they use to leverage on”.
Garba further said though cryptocurrencies are the currencies of the future but the Nigerian state does not need it at the moment.
“Cryptocurrency is here and it is the future of currency but it does not fit into Nigeria at the moment,” he said.
“The decision of the government to the best of my knowledge makes sense because the way the crypto works in Nigeria is not consumerise, meaning it is not going to individual users to participate. Most people go through brokers to be able to do these crypto activities. Most of these brokers are in a dark environment, nobody knows where they are and they cannot be regulated. Yet, they transact in some cases millions of dollars. So, how would you allow these people to run in an economy? he asked, adding that the trading of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria was inimical to the country’s economic growth.
“People carry their money in a dollar environment that is completely untracked and unregulated. Nigeria is the second or third most-traded Bitcoin in the world – $566m without productivity is sitting in one place from Nigeria. This to me is not a very good thing for economic growth. As a third world economy, we need more productivity per dollar that gets into the bank,” Garba said.