Entry to Justice (A2J) has denounced the actions of the Central Financial institution of Nigeria, and expressed dismay by the order given by Hon. Justice Ahmed Mohammed, to freeze the financial institution accounts linked to #ENDSARS Protesters.
In a launch, A2J mentioned: “The freezing of accounts linked to #ENDSARS Protesters started properly earlier than the court docket issued its order, particularly in October 2020, on the time the #ENDSARS protests have been happening, and have been adjudged comparatively peaceable. The CBN reportedly ordered industrial banks and fee platforms, to freeze accounts linked to individuals related to the protests. Following up its actions afterwards by looking for a court docket order, reveals that the CBN knew it was performing illegally when it directed industrial banks to freeze the aforesaid accounts, however went forward anyway to take action. Court docket orders don’t have a retrospective impact, subsequently, the CBN’s prior actions have been wholly illegal and unconstitutional”.
A2J continued its assertion, saying: “This organisation is worried concerning the rising erosion of the CBN’s independence and political neutrality. The CBN is reworking right into a partisan political organ of the federal government, and placing its huge regulatory powers into illicit partisan political makes use of, for the aim of suppressing the official train of constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression. That is appalling for a Central Financial institution, for a lot of causes”, together with the truth that the CBN arguably has no authorized powers to direct the freezing of accounts of anybody, on account of a civil protest.
A2J additionally said that the CBN has no energy underneath the regulation, to behave as a prison company or regulation enforcement arm of the federal government. That if any crime is alleged to have been dedicated by the protesters utilizing their banking accounts, a report of the alleged crime(s) ought to have been made to a duly established regulation enforcement company, for investigation; such company might then take any motion related to the investigation, together with making use of for a court docket order to freeze accounts. A2J additional said that, by directing that the accounts be frozen within the absence of a prison criticism, the CBN, which has no direct relationship with the account holders, usurped the powers of regulation enforcement authorities, and illegally made itself the accuser, investigator and prosecutor; and in so doing, acted properly outdoors the sides of its statutory powers. A2J accused the CBN Governor of taking the Financial institution down a really contagious, perilous, slope, whereas expressing dismay that the court docket’s order was made ex-parte, in different phrases, with out listening to the opposite facet.