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

A federal high court in Abuja has Wednesday, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unfreeze the bank accounts of 20  #EndSARS protesters.

Ahmed Mohammed, the judge, gave the order on Wednesday after counsel to the CBN and the legal representative of the protesters agreed to settle out of court.

The CBN froze the bank accounts in the heat of the #EndSARS  campaign. The apex bank had secured a court order to effect the freeze which elapsed last Tuesday.

Justice Mohammed proceeded to strike out the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020 filed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and in respect of which the ex-parte order freezing the accounts for 180 days was made on November 4, 2020.

The court’s decision was informed by the withdrawal of all processes filed in relation to the suit by lawyers to all parties.

Former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), who appeared for the CBN Governor and Femi Falana (SAN), who appeared for those affected by the freezing order, told the court, at the commencement of proceedings, that they have resolved to withdraw all the processes filed for peace to reign and for the ongoing process of reconciliation, at the various panels of enquiry on police brutality across the country, to progress unhindered.

NewsWireNGR recalls that in November 2020, Nigeria’s central bank froze the accounts of 20 people linked with anti-police brutality protests after receiving a court order, the regulator said.

Many of those affected were prominent during Nigerian protests last month known as #EndSARS, one of the West African country’s biggest social upheavals in 20 years, which attracted global attention as thousands of people campaigned for an end to police brutality.

The demonstrations came to a head on Oct. 20 when security forces opened fire and killed at least 12 protesters in Lagos, according to witnesses and Amnesty International. The army and police have denied the killings.

The #EndSARS movement first began on October 8, after the shooting of an unidentified young Nigerian man by a police officer in the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit known as SARS. The shooting kicked off a series of physical protests across Nigeria and throughout the Nigerian diaspora that called for an end to police brutality, and came to be a bold affront to the Nigerian government. Now, in the weeks and months since the protests have abated, demonstrators are still being abused while the government sidesteps accountability. 

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