CBN obtains order to freeze #EndSARS promoters’ accounts till January

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria has obtained a court order freezing the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters till January 2021.

The order was pursuant to a motion ex parte filed by the CBN before a Federal High Court.

The certified true copy of the order obtained by an online medium, Peoples Gazette, showed that the CBN applied for the restriction of the 20 accounts on October 20 which was several days after it had already ordered commercial banks to freeze the accounts.

The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020 listed the 20 defendants as – 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.

Others include Umoh Ekanem, Babatunde Segun, Mulu Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Jacob, Victor Solomon, and Idunu Williams.

The banks where the accounts are domiciled include Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.

The lawyers representing the CBN were led by a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN).

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Justice A.R Mohammed ordered that the accounts should be frozen for the next 90 days subject to renewal.

It is hereby ordered as follows, “A mandatory order is made empowering the plaintiff/applicant to direct the head office of Access Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Zenith Bank Plc to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 bank accounts listed for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“It is, however, directed that 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 is adjourned till February 4, 2021.”

It was, however, observed that the judge did not order that the defendants be served with any court process thereby leaving them unaware of the restriction of their accounts.

The PUNCH had reported on Wednesday that the Federal Government had clamped down on notable persons who took part in the #EndSARS protests.

The Nigeria Immigration Service had on Sunday prevented one of such persons, Modupe Odele aka Mochievous, from leaving the country and seized her passport.

The Rivers State medical coordinator of the #EndSARS protest, Bassey Israel, had also told this newspaper that his account was frozen and had threatened to sue the bank.

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