The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, showed no sign of backing down on the apex bank's decision to place a restriction on cryptocurrency transactions, stating that it was in the best interest of Nigerians.
In an appearance before a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime, Godwin Emefiele stated that cryptocurrencies were "issued by largely unknown, unregulated elements", calling crypto-assets "money created out of thin air".
"Cryptocurrency is not legitimate money. Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system,” said Emefiele on Wednesday. "Transactions are extremely opaque, they are black, they are not white, not visible and not transparent".
The Governor of Nigeria's Central Bank went ahead to affirm the body's resolve to continue its surveillance and get a better understanding of how the crypto ecosystem works, adding that its major objective remains to educate Nigeria on emerging financial risks and protect her financial system from the activities of money launderers, currency speculators, and foreign-based fraudsters.
Emefiele's statement has however met a heavy backlash on social media today, as Nigerians have tagged it an ignorant take on the subject, and a deliberate attempt to keep citizens poor.