CBN tells court not to unfreeze accounts of #EndSARS campaigners

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), has insisted that the frozen accounts of #EndSARS campaigners on the orders of Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja, must remain as it continues to investigate allegations of terrorism financing.

The apex bank had approached the court on Tuesday, December 1, with a counter-affidavit in opposition to a motion on notice filed by Gatefield Nigeria Limited, a company that allegedly sponsored freelance journalists to cover the #EndSARS protests in October.

Gatefield had opposed the CBN’s action of freezing its account in court, insisting that the act was illegal because the apex bank had frozen the accounts even before the court order to do so was obtained.

But in a counter-affidavit filed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, through his lawyer, A.J. Apera, the CBN stated that it duly obtained a court order on November 4, 2020, to freeze the accounts linked to #EndSARS supporters.

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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 Central Bank of Nigeria is investigating the said accounts in that regard.”

The apex bank added that 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.

“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.”

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