Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has defended the freezing of bank accounts belonging to #EndSARS promoters and believes the action is not a conclusion the accounts were used to sponsor acts of treason.
“Speaking very honestly, I don’t see anything wrong in it,” the governor who doubles as the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum said on Wednesday in the latest edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“If for instance, my account was frozen, what would I do? All I would do is go back to court to explain. Even politicians, their accounts are sometimes frozen. You have to go to court and explain. And at the end of the day, the court will say, ‘Leave the account. The account should be de-frozen’ and you take your money back.”
Although some social commentators and members of the public have described the action of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as an abuse of power, the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) said the protesters must explain the flow of funds into their accounts.
“If your account is frozen, you justify why the money was there. You come to explain to what use you have put this money,” Akeredolu, who in October defeated Eyitayo Jegede to win a second term in office, explained.
“If it is that ‘Okay, we used this money to pay this caterer to give food to these boys when they were there. We spent money between before the hoodlums took over,’ it will be explained, people will know and the accounts will be de-frozen.”
“It is just that we (CBN) suspected this account then the owner of the account will explain,” he said, noting stressing that it “is not a conclusion that those accounts were used for acts of treason.”
CBN Secures Order
A federal high court in Abuja on Friday last week granted the request of the CBN to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests.
The request, granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, was filed by the CBN on October 20.
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.
The court order addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank, directed the banks to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 accounts on the list annexed to the CBN’s application as Exhibit A and all other bank accounts of the defendants/respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Gatefield Nigeria Limited had earlier sued Access Bank Plc for allegedly blocking an account used to promote media coverage of the #EndSARS protests.