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ENDSARS

#EndSARS: Federal High Court orders CBN to unfreeze accounts of protesters

A Federal High court sitting in Abuja has ordered the unfreezing of the accounts of #EndSARS promoters.

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The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze 20 accounts related to activists of the #EndSARS movement.

This was disclosed today in a judgment by Justice Ahmed Mohammed as all parties agreed to resolve the matter.

“All processes filed in respect of the case are hereby deemed to have been withdrawn,” the Judge said in a response to counsel to the CBN, Michael Andoaka, SAN, and lawyer to the defendants, Femi Falana, SAN.

According to reports, the order came after all the parties in the CBN’s suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, notified the court that they had resolved to amicably settle the matter by withdrawing all the processes they earlier filed with respect to the suit.

READ: Why the CBN wielded the big stick on cryptocurrency transactions

What you should know 

  • In November of 2020, the CBN had received the nod of the federal high court in Abuja to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests till January.
  • The apex bank told the court it took the action to freeze the accounts and investigate the promoters of the protest on allegations bordering on terrorism financing, among others.
  • Some of the affected individuals are Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.
  • Others are: Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif. Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.
  • The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN were domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank.
  • It would be recalled that the peaceful #EndSARS protest of October was later hijacked by hoodlums who perpetrated violence that led to the loss of lives and properties in many parts of the country.

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Business

ICPC Chairman reveals #EndSARS protests was financed with cryptocurrency

ICPC Chairman has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.

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School feeding, ICPC, FIRS moves to stop tax evasion with newly launched intelligence system 

The Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has revealed to the Nigerian Senate that the #EndSARS protest was largely funded with cryptocurrency.

This is as he said there are strong indications that it could be used to fund Insurgency in the country.

According to a report from Vanguard, this disclosure was made by the ICPC Chairman, during an interactive session with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market led by Senator Uba Sani on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

READ: ICPC uncovers N9.8 billion Government money hidden in Aso Savings

The Joint committee was mandated to look at the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria.

The ICPC boss while supporting the position of the CBN, said that the nature of operations of Cryptocurrency exposes it to money laundering and terrorism financing.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said that the agency averted a $3million fraud linked to 20 bank accounts.

READ: ICPC moves against NDDC top management over corruption allegations, quizzes directors

Owasanoye further explained that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.

He brought the attention of the Senate to a period in 2018 when a number of globally rated financial institutions said their financial statements had been hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.

ICPC Chairman noted that the CBN as a regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability and it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies where the players are anonymous.

While sharing the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it does not know what it is, he urged the Lawmakers to as a matter of urgency, take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies.

READ: Most powerful financial leader takes side with CBN, says Bitcoin is untrustworthy

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the CBN had directed the financial institutions to immediately close the accounts of such persons or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges, warning of severe regulatory sanctions in the event of any breach of the directive.
  • The apex bank warned the Deposit Money Banks, Non-Financial Institutions and other Financial Institutions against doing business in crypto and other digital assets.
  • The latest directive is coming after the CBN had in 2018 stated that cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and as such are illegal.

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ENDSARS

#OccupyLekkiTollGate: Lagos Attorney-General explains large police presence at Lekki toll gate

Lagos Attorney-General has stated that the State does not support the abuse of peaceful protesters.

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The Lagos State Attorney-General, Moyosore Onigbanjo says that the reason for large numbers of policemen at the Lekki toll gate during Saturday’s protest was to prevent the protest from getting hijacked by hoodlums.

The Attorney-General of the State disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.

“Our duty is to face the dictate of the law.

“The state does not derive any joy from seeing people brutalized, but we must ensure that we have a society where law and order prevails and where everyone is free and secure to go about their businesses.

“Your right to protests only extends to where the other person’s freedom of association starts,” Onigbanjo said.

READ: #EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu presents Buhari report on Lagos destruction by hoodlums

He added that the State Government wanted to prevent any problems during the protests, citing Covid-19 regulations preventing the mass gathering of people and hoodlums hijacking the protests.

“I believe that was the desire of the state government yesterday that people can protests, but think about the Covid-19 regulations, the existing laws.

“We cannot afford the sort of vandalism we saw before, the state was genuinely apprehensive that hoodlums might take over a peaceful protest, we have seen this before. And that was why the police came out in large numbers that this did not degenerate the last time,” he added.

READ: #EndSARS: Freezing of accounts may trigger further protests – Tunde Bakare

What you should know 

Nairametrics reported over the weekend that Officers of the Nigerian Police Force arrested #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters at the Lekki toll gate on Saturday morning.

This was confirmed by multiple media images and videos on social media, showing the protesters being arrested and loaded inside police trucks and van, popularly known as Black Maria.

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