• Apex bank alleges transactions in frozen accounts can motive economic, security harm
• Freezing debts is unlawful, Federal Govt behaving like a terrorist, says Aisha Yesufu
The Federal Government was capable of freeze the bills of 20 #EndSARS campaigners after telling a Federal High Court in Abuja that the budget of their accounts might have been related to terrorist activities.
This is consistent with a written deal with in guide of a motion ex parte filed by means of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The CBN had in the 2d week of October frozen 20 accounts and thereafter approached the courtroom to are seeking an ex parte order to freeze the bills.
In the case with fit variety FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, made no mention of the fact that the 20 debts have been owned by individuals worried in the #EndSARS protests, however told the court that the finances may have emanated from terrorist activities.
The written address read in component, “My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken thru the defendants’ money owed are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section thirteen(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”
In a helping affidavit deposed to by means of one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, it changed into stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had performed an research at the debts of the defendants and different people and entities held with sure banks in Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, the investigation confirmed that the proprietors of the debts may additionally had been worried in terrorist activities.
It brought, “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing through their bank bills in contravention of the provisions of extant legal guidelines and guidelines. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, the usage of their bank accounts, can reason massive financial and safety harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.
“The applicant (CBN governor) is therefore desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed at the annexure to this software and all different bank accounts held by way of the defendants.
“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ debts could additionally permit the research of the sports of the defendants to a logical end which will reporting equal to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”
The apex bank said until the order was granted, it’d not be able to ensure that the cash remained intact, even as investigations had been ongoing.
The 20 money owed frozen by way of the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.
The accounts were stated to were flagged once they acquired cash with the narration #EndSARS.
One of the frozen accounts, marked 0056412470 and domiciled in Access Bank, belongs to Bolatito Olorunrinu Oduala, an #EndSARS campaigner, who changed into appointed into the Lagos State judicial panel set up through Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Another frozen account marked 0033974485 and domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Bassey Israel, the scientific team coordinator for the #EndSARS protests in Port Harcourt.
Similarly, an account marked 0054676984 domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Gatefield Nigeria Limited, which paid freelance reporters to cowl the protests.
Justice Mohammed froze the bills for a hundred and eighty days situation to renewal, but said every person who changed into no longer happy with the ruling was unfastened to venture it.
Freezing protesters’ bills unlawful – Yesufu
She wondered the freezing of the money owed in advance of the court docket injunction ordering the banks to dam the money owed.
Yesufu said, “The query is, why did they freeze the money owed earlier than acquiring a courtroom injunction? Why the illegality? Our judiciary should realize that it’s far an impartial arm of government and there’s separation of energy.
“The government have to be ashamed of itself. The United Arab Emirates just convicted some Nigerians, who were accused of terrorism, and we’re hearing that the government could enchantment on their behalf. That is where the trouble is.”
“Bandits are laying down their palms and they’re taking them to Government Houses, even as Boko Haram members are being given preferential treatment, however Nigerians, who had been protesting, had been being killed through the authorities. The government is the one behaving like a terrorist proper now.”