The Central Bank of Nigeria has pleaded to Justice Ahmed Mohammed’s Federal High Court in Abuja not to reactivate the accounts of campaigners for #EndSARS because they are still being investigated for money laundering.
According to Sahara Reporters, the CBN said this in a counter-affidavit in opposing party to
a motion for notice lodged by Gatefield Nigeria Limited,
a firm that supported self employed journalists to cover the #EndSARS demonstrations in October.
By an ex parte order, the apex bank had frozen the account of Gatefield Nigeria Limited and 19 other individuals who took part in the demonstrations.
Nevertheless, Gatefield objected the CBN’s court action, insinuating that the act was unlawful
because even before the court order to do so was acquired, the monetary authority had frozen the accounts.
A.J., in a counter-affidavit submitted by a lawyer, On behalf of CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, Apera, the apex bank,
asserted that on 4 November 2020 it had properly obtained a court ruling to freeze the bank account.
However in the court documents, the CBN did not specify #EndSARS, but only told the court
that all those whom the accounts were frozen have been under investigation for allegations of terrorism.
In this situation, it is considered that the bank accounts frozen by this honorable court are involved in financial transactions verging
the financing of terrorism and that the Central Bank of Nigeria is investigating those bank account in that regard, the affidavit partly stated.
The apex bank asserted that because of the nature of the enquiry that is terrorist attacks,
it did not need to notify the #EndSARS activists about the freezing of their accounts.
That the border terrorist organization of the Central Bank of Nigeria is investigating the allegations relating to the
accounts of the defendant and that the offer of an ex parte order in this suit was highly crucial, it stated.
The apex court stated that because it had to do with funding and cash being stored in
financial institutions, it had the lawful authority to investigate the accused.
The CBN stated that it would forward its reports for more inquiry to the Nigerian Monetary Authority Unit.
The affidavit, collected by the press team, further stated that it would be in the greatest
pursuit of justice for the immediate application to be repudiated
as the inquiries conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding the frozen accounts of the accused have not been established.
Last week the UK parliament criticized the Federal Government for freezing the bank
account of activists for #EndSARS under the pretext of investigating terrorist funding.
For 40 days, the accounts were frozen as none of the defendant was invited for questioning.