Thursday, August 11, 2022
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#EndSARS campaigners in court over frozen accounts

#EndSARS campaigners have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital, to reverse the restriction order placed on their respective bank accounts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN had placed a restriction order the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners through an ex-parte order which was obtained from Justice Ahmed Mohammed to support the decision.

The apex bank had also, in a supporting affidavit, accused the #EndSARS campaigners of receiving funds through acts of terrorism and thereafter asked the court to freeze their accounts.

However, 16 of the affected #EndSARS campaigners filed a motion on Thursday through their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), to set aside the restriction order.

The 16 applicants include Bolatito ‘Rinu’ Oduala, who is a member of the panel set up by the Lagos State Government to look into police brutality, Adegoke Pamilerin, Chima Ibebunjoh, Idunnu Williams, Mary Oshifowora, Mary Kpengwa and Saadat Bibi.

Others are Bassey Israel, Uhuo Promise, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye , Umoh Ekanem and Babatunde Segun.

The affected individuals insisted that the freezing of their bank accounts was an act of illegality, stressing that the CBN Governor, Ifeanyi Emefiele had frozen the accounts before approaching the court much later for a restriction order.

In their argument, they also emphasized that the court order permitting Emefiele to freeze their accounts for 90 days was a violation of their right to a fair hearing under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

They argued that Justice Mohammed’s 90-day freezing order violated Order 26 Rules 5, 10 and 11(1) and (2) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, which prescribes a maximum of 14 days for the validity of an ex parte order.

The #EndSARS campaigners faulted the terrorist tag on them by the CBN governor, pointing out that the apex bank was neither one of the investigating nor prosecuting agencies recognised under the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 and the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013.

Marshal Abubakar, who deposed to an affidavit filed in support of the suit, said the claimants’ accounts were frozen in October by CBN without any justification as the bank provided no evidence to back its terrorism claim.

He added that all the persons whose accounts were frozen had never been arrested for any crime before, adding that they were only protesters whose right to protest was recently reiterated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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