The Punch is reporting that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is accusing some leaders of the #EndSARS protests of funding terrorism.
The newspaper quotes a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the CBN saying the funds in the accounts might have emanated from terrorist activities.
There were earlier reports that the apex bank had received a court order to freeze accounts of 19 individuals and one company that coordinated some parts of the #EndSARS protest.
The protest lasted for 13 consecutive days in various parts of the country and was eventually hijacked by hoodlums which led to the destruction of properties and businesses.
In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before A.R. Mohammed, the CBN did not make reference to the fact that the 20 accounts were owned by personalities involved in the #EndSARS protests.
“My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013,” the written address read.
The newspaper also quotes a supporting affidavit deposed to by Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN as saying Joseph Omayuku, head of the economic intelligence unit of the CBN governor’s department, had conducted an investigation on the accounts which showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.
“There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations.
“The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.
“The applicant (CBN governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.
“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”
The affected accounts are domiciled in Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Gatefield Nigeria Limited, the affected company, sponsored freelance journalists to cover the protest.
Donations were received in various currencies including naira and dollars using Flutterwave to provide food, medical care and legal aid to protesters.
However, the donation link was disabled. The donation was subsequently moved to Bitcoin.