DOLLAR RATE CRISIS: Tinubu slams $10 billion fine on Binance for doing this

FILE PHOTO: A composition showing crypto currency with the Binance logo. Picture taken on Nov. 10, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The Nigerian Federal Government has imposed a hefty $10 billion fine on the cryptocurrency trading platform Binance, citing allegations of its involvement in exacerbating the country’s foreign exchange crisis.

Bayo Onanuga, the special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on information and strategy, revealed this development during a Friday morning interview with the BBC. Onanuga asserted that Binance engaged in “illegal transactions” in Nigeria, reaping substantial profits while the nation endured significant losses.

He claimed that Binance, allegedly unregistered and lacking a presence in Nigeria, facilitated arbitrary fixing of dollar-naira rates, negatively impacting the local currency’s value.

Furthermore, Onanuga explained that Binance had cooperated with the Nigerian government by providing information and had already suspended naira-related transactions on its platform.

Accusing Binance of influencing exchange rates illegally, Onanuga emphasized that such authority rests solely with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He contended that the platform harbored individuals who manipulated exchange rates, contributing to a detrimental impact on the economy during the government’s efforts to stabilize it.

Binance’s speculative activities were implicated in causing a nearly 70% devaluation of the Naira in recent months.

Confirming the government’s investigation, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) disclosed that Binance is under scrutiny by Nigerian authorities.

Zakari Mijinyawa, head of Strategic Communication at the ONSA, stated that an interagency investigation is underway in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria and other law enforcement agencies.

This confirmation followed the earlier arrest and detention of two top Binance executives over alleged manipulations in foreign exchange trading and speculative activities.

In response to the accusations, Onanuga called for the ban of Binance, along with other trading platforms like Kucoin, in Nigeria. Urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to swiftly act, he criticized Nigerians trading currency on Binance for their perceived lack of patriotism.

Onanuga highlighted Binance’s regulatory issues in various countries, including prohibitions in the UK, Japan, Canada, and Singapore, emphasizing that a platform facing such international scrutiny should not dictate the value of the Naira on its crypto exchange platform.