Nigerian Central Bank Not in Charge of Crypto Regulation, Says Governor

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According to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission is responsible for regulating cryptocurrencies. However, the governor said the central bank will collaborate with law enforcement agencies and regulators overseeing the Nigerian crypto sector.


The Central Bank’s Change of Heart

In a surprise announcement, Yemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said cryptocurrency regulation is not the responsibility of his organization. Cardoso made these remarks during a media event, stating that this role is assigned to the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Cardoso’s comments came just days after a Binance executive, who was being held by the Nigerian government, escaped from custody and left the country. The Office of the National Security Adviser, which confirmed the Binance executive Nadeem Anjarwalla’s escape, has promised to engage Interpol over the issue.

Before Cardoso’s latest comments, the CBN under the leadership of the now incarcerated Godwin Emefiele, had actively sought to oversee the Nigerian cryptocurrency industry. At one point, the bank seemed to usurp the SEC after it issued a directive barring financial institutions from servicing crypto entities. This directive, issued Feb. 5, 2021, appeared to contradict crypto guidelines released by the SEC on Sept. 14, 2020.

As previously reported by News, these guidelines, which were welcomed by some participants in Nigeria’s crypto ecosystem, were seen as a step toward recognizing cryptocurrencies. While the guidelines suggested that the SEC would oversee this industry, the CBN’s move a few months later eventually forced the SEC to suspend the guidelines.

However, according to a report by Nairametrics, the Cardoso-led Central Bank of Nigeria is now comfortable with the SEC taking the lead in cryptocurrency regulation. The governor also suggested that his organization is eager to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and other regulators.

“We’ve been sharing information together. However, in this particular case the responsibility for regulating cryptocurrency is not our role. It is not ours. It is strictly that of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). That is not our responsibility,” the CBN governor said.

Meanwhile, when asked about the detention of Binance executives, Cardoso said only the relevant government branch could comment.

Do you agree that only the Nigerian SEC should oversee the country’s crypto industry? Share opinions in the section below.