The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has justified the clampdown by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the bank accounts of some promoters of #EndSARS protests.
Mr Akeredolu supported the CBN while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Programme, on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the CBN obtained an ex-parte order from the courts to freeze the accounts of 20 persons and companies and linked to the #EndSARS campaign.
The court order was addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank.
Gatefield Nigeria Limited, owners of Gatefield, an advocacy group that supported the media coverage of the protest by providing funds to journalists also suffered from the clampdown.
Speaking on Channels Television, Mr Akeredolu said CBN was simply carrying out its duties by freezing the accounts.
“The issue of the accounts that were frozen was discussed but nobody said in the communique that we appreciated the government for freezing the accounts,” he said.
“We know that there are ways to get a few things done without putting it in the public glare and start contesting on the pages of newspapers. So, we know what we decided and we know what we want to do about that.
“The issue, when it was raised, generated debate. But it was so clear that some people were getting to fund this for reasons other than #EndSARS. So, if we know money moved from some accounts that were suspicious, do you say the government should keep quiet? It is something we are looking into.”
He maintained that rather than attacking CBN on social media, affected individuals and organisations should challenge the central bank in court.
“Accounts are frozen, is that the first time it is done? If your account was frozen, you justify why the money was there. You explain what use you have used the money. If it is, okay, we paid this caterer to give food to these boys when they were there. We spent money before the hoodlums took over, it will be explained, people will know and the accounts will be de-frozen,” he said.
“If for instance, my account was frozen, all I will do is to go to court and explain. Politicians’ accounts have been frozen and all they do is to go to court to explain and the court will say, leave the accounts and the accounts will be de-frozen and they get their money.”
Already, legal experts and activists across the country have already condemned CBN’s actions.
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