DEMONSTRATORS who stood against the government on the issue of police brutality last year have won a major legal battle today after an Abuja high court ordered that the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS protesters should be unfrozen immediately.
Following a month-long nationwide protest against the brutality of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit, the government came under intense criticism. After being forced to scrap Sars, the government decided to end the protests forcefully, sending soldiers to shoot innocent protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, leading to international condemnation and sparking nationwide riots.
Reeling from the bloody nose it got during the protests, the federal government decided to clampdown on protesters, starting off with the restriction of the use of social media across Nigeria. It then followed this up by freezing the accounts of those identified as supporters of the protest.
In what is seen as a particularly vindictive move, #EndSARS promoters said their banks had informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had directed that their accounts should be frozen. Apparently, the CBN instructed the banks to place a Post No Debit restriction on the accounts, preventing the holders from accessing them.
However, several protesters have successfully court these restrictions lifted and today, another 20 won a court order asking the government to leave their accounts alone. Today’s order was issued by the judge, Ahmed Mohammed following the agreement by the legal teams of the CBN and the defendants to end the case.
One of the youth representatives on the Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS Related Abuses, Rinu Oduala, has threatened further legal action against the CBN. Ms Oduala, whose account was among those frozen by CBN took to social media where she revealed that she has informed her lawyers and that she will take legal action against the apex bank to get the restrictions lifted.