Freezing or Closing Bank Accounts Not Supported by Law – Regulation Bitcoin News

The Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCON) has said that it is not legal for Nigerian financial institutions to freeze or arbitrarily close bank accounts belonging to individuals or entities accused of cryptocurrency trading.

Affected Crypto Entities Should Seek Legal Advice

In a public statement released on Nov. 22, BICCON – a coalition of leading Nigerian cryptocurrency and blockchain advocacy groups – advises affected individuals and companies to seek legal advice and court remedies where appropriate. . The body also insists that no Nigerian organization, public or private, should be above the law.

As previously reported by News, Nigerian financial institutions have been closing or freezing the bank accounts of entities suspected of cryptocurrency trading since November 3. The institutions claimed they were doing so in order to comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive originally issued on February 5.

However, despite these claims by the banks, the blockchain committee insists that it is questionable for financial institutions to block or freeze accounts simply because the account holders are cryptocurrency traders. The BICCON statement explains:

We consider questionable the actions of depository banks (DMBs), non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) and other financial institutions (OFIs) blocking, closing and/or freezing the bank accounts of individuals and entities by the mere fact that these individuals and entities are involved in cryptocurrency trading or cryptocurrency-related transactions without more. It is not supported by the current laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The statement also reiterates BICCON’s position on a CBN directive that was initially used by financial institutions to justify the exclusion of crypto entities from the banking system.

Only the Nigerian Legislature Can Criminalize Crypto Trading

Meanwhile, in the same statement, BICCON is also using the renewed spotlight on the Nigerian cryptocurrency industry to reaffirm its belief that the CBN is encroaching on the legislative powers of the legislature. BICCON says:

“As of February 5, 2021, a number of individual and entity accounts have been closed…Although as a regulator, the CBN has statutory authority to delineate banking operations, but [the] ordered [of] banks and other financial institutions to freeze [or close] accounts suspected of being used for cryptocurrency may not be supported by law. Indeed, there is currently no National Assembly legislation criminalizing or illegalizing cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria.

The statement insists that failure to revise the CBN circular “will set a dangerous precedent in the country”. The statement also suggests that while BICCON is against “undue discrimination” against the Nigerian blockchain and crypto industry, the body is willing to engage with relevant regulators, law enforcement and government.

What do you think of BICCON’s public statement? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Terence Zimwara

Terence Zimwara is an award-winning journalist, author and writer in Zimbabwe. He has written extensively on the economic problems of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.

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