Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) reveals that the Central Bank of Nigeria cannot contest an appeal against the court ruling, asking them to unfreeze 20 #EndSARS campaigners account.
The Senior Advocate insists that his clients would charge the apex bank and the Federal Government to court for unlawfully depriving them of their rights by freezing their bank accounts out of mere intimidation.
He further states that the CBN must mind its sole business of banking and not mingle into politics.
Recall that News had earlier reported that the Federal High Court in Abuja had ruled that the CBN unfreeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners.
Falana, while reacting to the freezing of the 20 #EndSARS bank account, said CBN did not investigate the allegation of terrorism and money laundry filed against the #EndSARS campaigners before zooming to action.
Falana opines, “In October last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria went out of his way to obtain an ex parte to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS protesters. The Central Bank asked to investigate the 20 people for alleged money laundering, terrorism, and sundry offenses. Instead of 180 days, the court gave the CBN 90 days to commence and conclude an investigation into the accounts of these young men and women’s activities.
“For the 90 days, throughout the order, there was no investigation at all because no offense was committed. These young men were expressing their rights to freedom of expression guaranteed by Section 39 of the Constitution and freedom of assembly guaranteed by Section 40. So, it was a case of sheer intimidation.
“By last week, February 4, the order expired, and we were in the court yesterday (Wednesday). Of course, the Central Bank had attempted to renew the order, but you cannot renew an expired order. If you wanted to renew, you should have renewed when the order was valid and subsisting. So, the court decided to strike out the case yesterday because both sides withdrew all applications.
“So, the creation of filing an appeal does not arise because the order had expired. The government cannot file an appeal because the government had withdrawn all the application files.
“I do hope sufficient lessons have been learned particularly by the Central Bank to desist from jumping into the political arena by attempting to freeze the accounts of people who are involved in a struggle because when a Central Bank does that, you have left the business of banking and then strayed into the political terrain and it is a dangerous terrain.”