Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Thursday warned strongly against the current trend of digital currencies, especially Bitcoins, stressing that they were yet to be approved by Nigerian regulators.
The Chief Executive Officer, NDIC, Alhaji. Umaru Ibrahim gave the warning in Lagos, in an address at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair.
Represented by the Director, Claims Resolution, Mr. A.S Bello, he said: “The protection of the depositor remains our top priority. That is why we continue to stress the need for depositors to patronise only financial institutions that are licensed by the CBN and which display the NDIC Sticker with the words ‘insured by NDIC’ in their banking halls or entrances.
“It is for this reason that I must sound a word of warning against patronising dubious fund managers, otherwise known as “Wonder Banks”. They persuade their unsuspecting victims to part with their hard earned money with promises of interest rates that are unrealistically high as the returns on their investments.
“The result is the loss of vital savings and sometimes disastrous consequences to the lives of the victims. Also, the emerging trend of investing in digital currencies popularly known as Bitcoins is equally dangerous because just like the “Wonder Banks’, the digital currencies are not licensed by the CBN and are therefore not insured by the NDIC.”
He further revealed that the corporation had paid over N100 billion to depositors of liquidated banks.
The payments, according to him, were not done in secret, saying that the NDIC publishes in newspapers, radio and television whenever insured deposits and uninsured deposits were due for payment.
“We implore those depositors who have not responded to our calls to come forward to collect their insured deposits and liquidation dividends already declared for uninsured deposits,” he added.
He also reiterated that NDIC has continued to be at the forefront of driving the key objectives of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).
This, according to the NDIC boss, is to help reduce the percentage of adult Nigerians that do not have access to financial services from 46.3 per cent in 2010 to 20 per cent by 2020.
“To this end, the corporation has redoubled is efforts by providing an enabling regulatory and supervisory environment that ensures that the hard-earned savings of small savers are protected,” he said.