Court Unfreezes #EndSARS Campaigners’ Bank Accounts

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Following the freezing of the bank account of some promoters of the #EndSARS protesters, a Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze 20 bank accounts linked to protesters and promoters of #EndSARS with immediate effect.

The order was given by Justice Ahmed Mohammed following the sudden withdrawal of a suit filed against them by the CBN through its counsel, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

The apex bank had asked for 180 days to probe the alleged crime against the defendants.

It opted to withdraw its earlier application for an extension of time and the defendants through their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), subsequently decided to withdraw all processes filed against the suit.

During hearing on Wednesday, Aondoakaa told the court that he had discussed with counsel for the defendants and in the spirit of reconciliation, his client was withdrawing the suit.

Justice Mohammed, in a short ruling, struck out the suit.

He said, “All processes filed deemed to have been withdrawn in the spirit of reconciliation, the suit is hereby struck out. The order of November 4, 2020, freezing the accounts of the respondents is hereby set aside. An order is made de-freezing the accounts of the respondents immediately.”

The CBN had in an ex parte application filed on October 20, 2020, asked the court to freeze the accounts of the respondents which was granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed.

The court order was addressed to the Head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa and Zenith Bank.

The court directed the banks to freeze all transactions on the accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as an exhibit for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry by the bank.

The 180 days lapsed last week.

In an interview with reporters, Falana warned the government to stop violating the rights of Nigerians.

He said that as of today, none of his clients has been invited for questioning, interrogated or charged to court for any of the alleged offences for which their accounts were frozen.

In his reaction, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said the Federal Government was not wrong to freeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners.

“Government is not wrong particularly in circumstances that justifies intense investigation. It is the end result of an investigation that can determine whether government is right or wrong as determine by the court on the basis of the facts presented,” he said.

Malami, disclosed this on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme.

The Attorney-General who spoke hours later on the ruling said “The decision to comply with the court order or not is not a decision that is a product of intimidation; government cannot be intimidated, government cannot in anyway be compromised as far as the exercise of its constitutional powers are concerned but that does not mean the government is perpetually inconsiderate.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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