#EndSARS campaigners involved in economic terrorism, says CBN

By our reporter| The Federal Government has acussed about 20 members of the #EndSARS protesters of economic terrorism, according to papers filed by the Central Bank of Nigeria at the fdedral high court, Abuja.

According to a written address by in support of a motion filed by the apex bank to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners, the court was told that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities.

In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities.

“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 motion read in part.

The affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, alleged that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.

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According to the affidavit, the investigation 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.”

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The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.

The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

The court froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal.

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