Rights Lawyers Sue CBN, SEC Over Cryptocurrency Ban

Following the ban on Cryptocurrency in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a civil society organisation, the Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative, has dragged the CBN and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to court.

The CBN earlier in the week directed that all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country should desist from transacting in and with entities dealing in cryptocurrencies.

In Suit No. FHC/L/CS/ 188/2021 filed on Monday, February 8, 2021 at the Federal High Court in Lagos, the group said the CBN, which is the first defendant, lacked the power to restrict financial institutions from dealing in cryptocurrency transactions.

The digital rights lawyers argued that the second defendant, SEC, had in a circular dated September 14, 2020, declared cryptocurrencies as legal digital assets “protected under section 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”. The lawyers, therefore, asked the court to validate the Investments and Securities Act 2007, which made SEC the apex regulatory body of the Nigerian capital market.

They also prayed the court to declare the CBN action as “ultra vires, unconstitutional, null and void” while also seeking a “perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant from regulating and/or further regulating virtual currencies/ crypto currencies in Nigeria.”

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