A Federal High Court in Abuja has been urged to lift the order it made on November 4 this year freezing the accounts of some individuals alleged to have been behind the #EndSARS protest.
The request is contained in an application filed by the law firm of Falana and Falana’s Chambers, on behalf of 16 of the 20 individuals and firms affected by the order made by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, upon an ex-parte motion by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It is the contention of the applicants that the freezing of their accounts, without their being heard, was unlawful and a violation of their fundamental human rights.
The applicants specifically prayed for an order, setting aside “the mandatory ex-parte order made on the 4th day of November, 2020 in this suit freezing all the identifiable and/or traceable bank accounts of the 1, 2, 3, 5, 6,7, 8, 10 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 20th defendants/applicants herein.”
They are Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Saadat Bibi, Basey Isreal, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye, Adegoke Emmanuel, Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mary Oshifowora and Idunnu Williams.
The grounds of their application, includes that the the ex-parte order was made to validate an illegal act because the applicant “unlawfully froze the accounts of the defendants/applicants before seeking and obtaining the orders of the court on November 4, 2020.
They argued that the order ex-parte was anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts, adding that it constitutes a gross abuse of the process of the court.
The applicants also argued that the court made the ex-parte order empowering the plaintiff/applicant (CBN Governor) to direct the head of Access Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, United Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc to freeze forthwith all transactions on the bank accounts of the defendants/applicants for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the CBN,without affording the respondents/applicants the right of fair hearing.
They contend that the grant of the said order breached their fundamental right to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004, “in that no fair hearing was granted the applicant/respondent before the order was made.”
According to them, the order violates Order 26 Rules 5, 10 And 11(1) and (2) Of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019 which prescribes a maximum period of 14 days as the duration of an ex parte order.
They argued that the CNB Governor, to whom the order was granted, “is neither one of the investigative agencies nor prosecuting agencies recognized under the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 nor the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013.
“The said other violated the rights of the Defendants/Applicants town movable property.
There was no urgency warranting the grant of the order ex parte. No motion-on-notice was filed together with the Motion ex-parte.
“The ex-parte order made by the honourable court has determined the fundamental right of the defendants/applicants without affording them fair hearing. No undertaking was made as to damages,” they said.
Credit: The Nation