As FG Bares Its Fangs Against #EndSARS Promoters
LAGOS – The Federal Government of Nigeria has recently been accused of clamping down on promoters of the #EndSARS protests by freezing their bank accounts.
For over 10 days, youths across major parts of the country took to the streets in protest against what they termed “police brutality”, especially by one of the force’s units known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protest didn’t go without recording a success, as President Muhammadu Buhari acceded to the five-for-five demands of the protesters which included the disbandment of SARS.
However, a few weeks after the protests, there were reports of alleged clampdown by the government on those who promoted and financed the campaign.
According to some of the promoters, their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed that their accounts be frozen.
As it was gathered, the CBN reportedly instructed banks to place a “Post No Debit” restriction on the accounts of some of the promoters numbering about 20.
On Friday, November 6, 2020, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja authorised the CBN to freeze the accounts of 20 of the #EndSARS promoters with immediate effect.
The accounts are said to be domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Granting the prayers of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, Justice A.R. Mohammed said the apex bank empowered him to direct the head office of each of the banks to “freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 bank accounts listed hereunder and all other bank accounts of the Defendants/Respondents for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the CBN.”
The defendants include Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye and Adegoke Emmanuel.
The rest are Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon and Idunu Williams.
The court also said the 90-day freezing order, “when it lapses, may be renewed upon good cause shown by the applicant.”