Femi Falana, SAN, has told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) allegedly ordered the freezing of bank accounts associated with some promoters of the #EndSARS protests two weeks before obtaining a court order.
Falana who is lawyer to Bolatito Oduala and 18 other #EndSARS protesters, told Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on Wednesday, December 9; while arguing a motion he filed for his clients, in which he prayed the court to vacate the order ex-parte granted on November 4, freezing the accounts of 20 alleged #EndSARS promoters.
“We made a serious allegation that the order was obtained on November 4 to cover up the resort to self-help by the plaintiff by freezing our clients’ accounts from October 15, two weeks before the order,”Falana said.
He stated that although the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele attempted to deny the allegation, he had filed documentary evidence of printouts of text message exchanges between his clients and their banks.
“It is a very serious allegation. If your lordship knew that they had frozen the accounts before approaching the court; your lordship would not have exercised discretion in their favour.
“We pray the court to vacate the order ex-parte; so that the defendant, who have committed no offence whatsoever to have their rights restored.
“There is no indication that any of the defendants engaged in the commission of any offence.
“There is no scintilla of evidence presented before this court by the plaintiff to the effect that criminal offence is being investigated against the defendants,” Falana added.
The lawyer faulted the CBN governor’s reliance on the Terrorism Act to obtain the order; arguing that “under Section 40 of the Act, the CBN is not a prosecuting agency.
“All the agencies that can invoke the law are listed.”
Falana also faulted the procedure adopted by the CBN Governor in obtaining the order; arguing that under Order 26 of the Federal High Court’s Rules; it was wrong for the plaintiff to have just filed an ex-parte motion without accompanying it with either a motion on notice; or originating summons, to enable the defendants to respond.
Falana prayed the court to vacate the order made on Nov. 4 against his clients.