From Godwin Tsa Abuja
Few hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unfreeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters, Rinu Oduala, one of the youth representatives in the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses, has threatened legal action against the apex bank.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had ordered the unfreezing of the accounts of the 20 EndSARS promoters following agreement by all parties in the suit to amicably resolve the matter.
Mohammed, who commended counsel to CBN and former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoaaka (SAN) and that of the defendants, Femi Falana (SAN) ruled that “all processes filed in respect of the case are hereby deemed to have been withdrawn.” The judge, then, set aside the November 4, 2020 order and ordered that all the accounts of the affected persons “be immediately defreezed.” The accounts are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
However, Oduala whose account was among those frozen took to social media saying she had informed her lawyers of the plan to take legal action against the apex bank.
She tweeted: “It’s time to sue CBN for the unlawful freeze of my accounts. I was accused of money laundering & terrorism but no investigations were done in the past three months. This was purely an act of intimidation! I have informed my lawyers, Falana and Falana Chambers and we will be suing!”
The CBN, had in an exparte motion marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/1384/2020, prayed the court to freeze the bank accounts of Bolatito Rachael Oduala and 19 others who participated in the last year protest to end police brutality in the country.
Granting the prayers of CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, Justice A.R. Mohammed said the apex bank empowered him to direct the head office of each of the banks to “freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 bank accounts listed hereunder and all other bank accounts of the defendants/respondents for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the CBN.”
The apex bank said it took the action to investigate the promoters of the protest on allegations bordering on terrorism financing, among others.
The defendants include Bolatito Oduala, Chima Ibebunjoh, Mary Kpengwa, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Saadat Bibi, Bassey Israel, Wisdom Obi, Nicholas Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Yusuf, Uhuo Promise, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye and Adegoke Emmanuel.
The rest are Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon and Idunu Williams.
The court also said the 90-day freezing order, “when it lapses, may be renewed upon good cause shown by the applicant.”
It is also directed that “any person, whether artificial or natural, that is affected by this order may apply to the court to have his grievance or complaint heard by the court.” The suit was adjourned till February 4, 2021.