By Aiyekun Timothy
The Central Bank of Nigeria has prayed Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja not to unfreeze the accounts of #EndSARS campaigners.
The CBN said this in a counter-affidavit following a motion on notice filed by a company that sponsored freelance journalists to cover the #EndSARS protests in October, Gatefield Nigeria Limited.
The apex bank, through an ex parte order froze the account of Gatefield Nigeria Limited and 19 other persons who played a role in the protests and that has been protested by the company in court, explaining the CBN had frozen the accounts even before securing the court order.
In a counter-affidavit filed by a lawyer, A.J. Apera, for the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank stated that it duly obtained a court order on November 4, 2020 to freeze the accounts, stressing that they are still under probe for terrorism financing.
The affidavit read in part, “That the bank accounts frozen by this honourable court in this case are suspected to be involved in transactions bordering on terrorism financing and that the said accounts are being investigated by the Central Bank of Nigeria in that regard.”
The apex bank said it did not need to inform the #EndSARS campaigners about the freezing of their accounts because of the nature of the investigation which is terrorism-related.
It added, “That the allegations involving the defendants’ accounts being investigated by the Central Bank of Nigeria border on terrorism and that there was an extreme urgency warranting the grant of the ex parte order in this suit.
“That it will be in the best interest of justice that the instant application be dismissed as the investigations being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria in respect of the defendants’ frozen accounts have not been concluded.”
These accounts have been frozen for 40 days while none of the accused has been invited for questioning as the UK Parliament condemned the action by the Federal Government.