FG Allegedly Freezes Accounts, Places Travel Ban On #EndSARS Protest Frontliners
Federal Government has been accused of witch hunting some Nigerians who were strong advocates of the #EndSARS protests across the nation, by freezing their bank accounts and placing them on a travel ban.
On October 7, when protest against police brutality and extra-judicial by members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) began, a number of Nigerians including celebrities were at the forefront.
These individuals and non-governmental organizations coordinated physical protests, crowdfunding, disbursement of funds to bail arrested protesters, provision of medical services to those injured or shot, paid for welfare of protesters in different states and other activities.
Some of them include Rinu Oduala (Savvy Rinu), Folarin Falana (Falz), Modupe Odele (Mochievous), Fayokemi Abudu (FK Abudu), Jola Ayeye (Jollz), Odunayo Eweniyi, Aisha Yesufu, Kiki Mordi and Feminist Coalition.
Following the discontinued protest due to the brutal killing of some peaceful protesters at Lekki tollgate on October 20, there have now been allegations that the Federal government has begun a clampdown on persons who promoted the protest via any means.
According to a report by Punch, some #EndSARS front liners alleged that their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed that their accounts be frozen. The apex bank reportedly instructed banks to place a “Post No Debit” restriction on the accounts.
A pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, reportedly said his account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX has been frozen since October 15.
Speaking, he said;
I am in charge of End SARS medical team in Port Harcourt and we had people donating for medical supplies, food, water, ambulance services and these donations were made directly into my account and of course these donations had End SARS descriptions so I think that was how they were able to flag my account.
I noticed that on October 15, I was trying to make a debit transaction on my account and noticed that there was a restriction.
Israel further expressed;
So, I called the bank and I was told that there was indeed a restriction but I should go to any branch near me and when I did so, the branch manager sent a mail to the branch where I opened the account. The response to the mail was that there was a directive from the CBN to restrict the account.
The lady was surprised and even asked me if I had any issue with the CBN and I responded that if I had any issue with the CBN, I wouldn’t be in the bank in the first place, I would be on the run. I asked what could be done and she gave me no answer. She had to show me the mail on her computer which I read. It was directly from the CBN and it read, ‘Place this account on PND’.
When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said;
I know many persons that have this same challenge.
Another #EndSARS protester who spoke on condition of anonymity, also alleged that she had not been able to access her account and had been informed that it was frozen.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, was yet to react to these weighty allegations, as at the time of filing this report.
In the same vein, an #EndSARS advocate, Modupe Odele, better known as Mochievous was stopped from travelling out of the country for her birthday by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday as she was detained with her passport seized.
Please Moe and FK are safe. Moe’s passport was seized yesterday and she was stopped from leaving the country for a short birthday holiday. They still have custody of her passport and haven’t told her yet what her crime is. These are the monsters we are in combat with.
— ULOMA (@ulxma) November 2, 2020
Few hours later, the Lawyer gave an update on Twitter saying that she was invited back to retrieve her passport the following day.
Hello everyone. Thank you so much. I’m fine and I’m safe. We haven’t confirmed yet why I was stopped on Sunday or by whom. But I’ve been invited back in with my lawyers today. I’ll update when I have more information but please don’t spread false news. That is dangerous 🙏🏽
— Moe (@Mochievous) November 3, 2020
However, on November 3, Mochievous told her Twitter followers that she could not retrieve her passport as she was informed that she was still under investigation.
Hello people, I went to retrieve my passport today but was told this: “We cannot release your passport because you are still under investigation”.
As of now, I’m not aware of any charges against me or what I am under investigation for.
— Moe (@Mochievous) November 3, 2020
The Ministry of Interior, however, denied the allegation that it is compiling the names of #EndSARS protesters on a no-fly list.