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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Falana Chastises FG as Court Unfreezes #EndSARS Campaigners’ Bank Accounts

Falana Chastises FG as Court Unfreezes #EndSARS Campaigners’ Bank Accounts

An Abuja Federal High Court has on Wednesday ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unfreeze 20 bank accounts associated with #EndSARS protesters and alleged promoters.

CBN’s counsel, Michael Aondoakaa, SAN, announced the withdrawal of the bank’s suit against the protesters and their alleged sponsors, prompting Justice Ahmed Mohammed to give the order reversing the freezing of the said accounts.

The order which was for 180 days was to enable the CBN probe the alleged crime against the defendants.

Although the order was supposed to be renewed upon an application by the CBN, the apex bank, however, opted to withdraw its earlier application for an extension of time and the subsequent decision of the defendants through their lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), to also withdraw all processes filed against the suit.

When the matter came up 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, therefore struck out the suit.

He said in his ruling that “All processes filed deemed to have been withdrawn in the spirit of reconciliation, the suit is hereby struck out.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.”

CBN had applied on October 20, 2020, to the court to freeze the accounts of the respondents and Justice Mohammed granted the application, directing the affected 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.

Some of the bank accounts holders were Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

Others are Adegoke Yusuf, Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.

Falana in an interview with journalists warned the government to stop violating the rights of Nigerians.

According to him, 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.

Meanwhile, 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.


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