Arrest of Binance Executives Shows Govt is Working – Obanikoro

Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, says the arrest and detention of two executives of cryptocurrency trading website Binance is evidence that the President Bola Tinubu administration is working to stem security challenges in Nigeria.

Obanikoro, a former lawmaker who represented Lagos Central Senatorial District from 2003 to 2007.

“I don’t want to speak to some of the things that the security people are doing. Among them which we also saw last week was the arrest that the NSA (National Security Adviser) made of those foreigners who are also helping to devalue our currency in crypto coins under illegal manner. That is evidence that this is a government is working,” he said.

The President’s party man and All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said the new administration cannot be blamed for the “prevailing” terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other security challenges in the country because the past administrations lacked the political will to stamp out the menacing trend.

Nigeria is battling rising inflation, food inflation, forex crisis, economic hardship and high cost of living occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, attracting protests in parts of the country.

The Nigerian naira has seen a dip in the last nine months since the President Bola Tinubu administration collapsed the foreign exchange window. The naira experienced an all-time low, falling from about N700/$1 last May to over N1500/$1 at the moment.

The authorities have since turned their focus to cryptocurrency websites, accusing them of speculation, clamping down on them through telecommunication companies.

Last week, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, said $26bn suspicious flows in the form crypto exchanges passed through Binance.

The same week, two Binance executives were arrested in Nigeria and the government has demanded about $10bn compensation from the cryptocurrency platform on allegations of manipulation of foreign exchange rates which has negatively affected the value of the naira against the dollar.

The crypto platform subsequently ended its naira services while the House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the national security implications of cryptocurrency, and other digital asset transactions.

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