Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Wednesday declined to comment on the freezing of accounts belonging to key #EndSARS promoters and protesters, noting that doing so will jeopardize investigations currently ongoing.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly froze the bank accounts of about 20 identified organisers of the protests and an organisation linked with the protests.
The accounts are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Some of the affected individuals include Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.
Others are: Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif. Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.
Asked by State House Correspondents the rationale behind blocking the bank accounts of some key #EndSARS protesters and what the government seeks to gain from the peace meetings, Mohammed said he does not need to comment about the issue because the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate police brutality and extra-judicial killings have started their work across the country.
The minister was cornered after briefing on the Federal Executive Council meeting decisions at the Council Chambers of the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said any response from him will preempt the findings from the panels of inquiry across the country.
He stressed that it would be wise to await the outcome of their inquest.
“I’m a bit constrained addressing this issue because I know that various states have set up panels of inquiry to look into the entire EndSARS protests, with very defined terms of reference, so any attempt from me now to second-guess or try to defend or proffer answers to any question, I think will be improper.
“I’ll rather wait for the panels that have been set up to do their jobs”, he said.
Recall that a criminal complaint has been filed against 50 persons, including musicians Damini Ogulu (Burna Boy); David Adeleke (Davido); Folarin Falana (Falz); and social media comedians, Debo Adebayo (Mr. Macaroni); and Maryam Akpaokagi (Taoma), before an Abuja Magistrate, by an activist, Kenechukwu Okeke, for their alleged roles in the protests.