QueenEsther Iroanusi, Premiumtimes
The Senate through its committee on Judiciary, Legal and Human Rights Matters has declined comment on the legality of freezing bank accounts owned by #EndSARS protesters and promoters.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, also kept mum when he was questioned by journalists.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) obtained an ex-parte order to freeze the accounts of 20 individuals and an organisation involved in the #EndSARS campaign.
The order, granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, was addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Amongst those affected are 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 and Gatefield Nigeria Limited, an advocacy group that supported the media coverage of the protest by providing funds to journalists.
Shortly after the justice ministry’s budget defence at the National Assembly on Monday, the chairman of the aforementioned committee told journalists that he could neither defend nor explain the issue.
“I read about it on the news like any of you. Our committee is also interested in knowing what is going on in this regard. But as it is, I am not in a position to either defend or explain anything in this regard. It came to us as news. If it is true, the stakeholders in charge are trying to achieve it,” was his response.
His remark was a few moments after the AGF kept mum when he was accosted by journalists. Mr Malami simply smiled and walked away when he was asked about the legality of the CBN’s act.
This was also just about an hour after the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in a separate meeting, urged the federal government to ensure provision for employment for Nigerian youth – to avert another looming protest.
The attack on #EndSARS promoters and protesters has sparked outrage across the country and has been condemned by lawyers, activists and civil groups.
The #EndSARS protest against brutality held in many Nigerian states last month with the government promising to attend to the demands of the protesters.
The protests turned violent and was hijacked by hoodlums after a government clampdown. Dozens of people were killed and hundreds of properties damaged in the violence.