CBN Tells Court #EndSARS Promoters are Suspected Terrorists
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has accused promoters of #EndSARS of engaging in terrorist activities, according to reports obtained from a Federal High Court in Nigeria’s federal capital territory, Abuja.
The bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters were frozen by the apex bank mid October, and the bank approached the court to file an ex-parte application, telling the court that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities.
It was noted that the bank accounts were already frozen before the CBN approached the court to obtain the order.
The CBN in its written address in support of a motion ex parte told the court that the 20 bank accounts in question were suspected to be linked with terrorist activities but the address was mute on their link with the #EndSARS protests.
In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, CBN’s written address reads in part:
“My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”
A supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN said the head of the economic intelligence unit of the governor’s department at the apex bank, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.
The affidavit claimed that the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.
“There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.
“The applicant (CBN governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.
“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit”, the affidavit further claimed.
The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.
The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank, and were said to have been flagged after they received money with the narration #EndSARS.
The Punch reported that one of the frozen accounts, marked 0056412470 and domiciled in Access Bank, belongs to Bolatito Olorunrinu Oduala, an #EndSARS campaigner, who was appointed into the Lagos State judicial panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Another frozen account marked 0033974485 and domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Bassey Israel, the medical team coordinator for the #EndSARS protests in Port Harcourt.
Similarly, an account marked 0054676984 domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Gatefield Nigeria Limited, which paid freelance journalists to cover the protests.
Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.
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