The Nigerian Apex Bank – Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has suspended international money transfer to Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has advised Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to beware of the activities of some unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) in Nigeria. The CBN stated that the warning became necessary because of the activities of some unregistered IMTOs, whose modes of operation are detrimental to the Nigerian economy.

“All financial services providers in Nigeria, just as in other jurisdictions, are required to be duly licensed in order to protect both customers and the financial system as well as to ensure the credibility of financial transactions.

Nigeria received more than $20bn in remittances annual from migrants around the world.

Following the announcement by the CBN, hundreds of global remittance companies have sent email notifications to their respective customers, especially those in the diaspora informing them about the suspension and how it will affect their services.

Out of the hundreds of International money transfer operators (MTOs), only Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria are allowed by CBN to continue delivering their services to Nigeria.

World Remit a leading online remittance provider has called for the urgent restoration of money transfers to Nigeria, as draconian new rules leave virtually all money transfer operators (MTOs) unable to provide services to the West African country. The founder and CEO, Ismail Ahmed stated that this move is detrimental to Nigerians in the diaspora, who rely on hundreds of money transfer companies and banks for money transfers services.

Ahmed stated that it looks as if all systems in Nigeria are currently geared against encouraging new entrants and competition in the mobile remittance markets.

Azimo one of the UK Fintech start-ups and international online remittance provider stated in an email communication to their customers as follows:

unfortunately, like many other money transfer companies, we need to temporarily suspend bank transfers to Nigeria from midnight (as of yesterday). You will still be able to send money to Nigeria with Azimo, even after mid night, for mobile top-ups, and via SWIFT in euros and US dollars. We fully expect our bank transfer service wont be suspended for long, and as soon as it’s back to normal we will let you know.

TransferWise another UK based international transfer company, long before now has suspended transaction to Nigeria due to instability in Nigerian currency markets. The company stated as follows:

Due to the recent events in the Nigerian currency markets, we felt that we couldn’t offer you the service you expect from TransferWise, with a true mid-market rate, and a transparent fee. We’re working hard to bring Transferwise back to Nigeria and hope to have the service back up and running later in the year.

Until now, money transfer operators operated via partnerships with licensed local correspondents in Nigeria, enabling transfer of funds to local bank accounts – providing a more efficient service than the SWIFT infrastructure.

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