In response to the burgeoning crypto space in Nigeria, Adedeji Owonibi, co-founder of Nigerian blockchain intelligence service provider A&D Forensics, has advocated for implementing robust regulations to monitor cryptocurrency activities and mitigate financial crimes.
Nigeria’s current regulatory gap and call for action
Owonibi highlighted the current lack of regulations in Nigeria’s cryptocurrency sector, which he believes allows various practices to operate unchecked. He emphasized the Nigerian government’s need to introduce comprehensive laws governing cryptocurrency activities to establish accountability and deter illicit financial activities such as money laundering.
Despite the recent decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lift the ban on crypto transactions, Owonibi stressed the importance of ensuring compliance among financial institutions, particularly in their interactions with Virtual Assets Service Providers (VASPs). He underscored the significance of training compliance specialists to assist banks in adhering to relevant laws and preventing the misuse of funds for criminal purposes.
Enhancing financial security measures
Owonibi urged Nigerian financial institutions to prioritize the engagement of compliance specialists to uphold stringent compliance laws. These measures are essential safeguards against illicit financial activities, ensuring that banks are not unwittingly implicated in money laundering or other criminal enterprises.
While acknowledging the Nigerian government’s training law enforcement agents as compliance specialists, Owonibi emphasized the need for further investment in comprehensive training programs. He emphasized the importance of equipping all security officials with the necessary skills to combat financial crimes in cryptocurrency.
Continued advocacy for regulatory revision
In light of the CBN’s recent policy shift, local crypto analysts have urged the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revisit regulations about VASPs. These analysts argue that Nigeria can foster a more regulated and transparent cryptocurrency ecosystem by updating guidelines and enabling local crypto exchanges to obtain licenses.