By Olaniyi Timothy Olamide
- It is no longer daily news that not less than 20 ENDSARS protesters bank accounts have been frozen through ex-parte order, for allegedly promoting and fanning the ember of the ENDSARS protests.
- This onerous and unfair action by the CBN has generated a lot of mixed reactions from the general public. Arguments have been ensued from several quarters questioning the legality and validity of the Ex-parte order granted by the court in freezing the bank accounts of some of the EndSars protesters.
- The argument of the CBN is that the accounts were being used to finance acts of terrorism in the country, thereby violating Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and(3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundry/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013. One cannot but ask some nagging questions. Is peaceful protest an act of terrorism? And when does financing same become a crime? These are the questions to which this article answers in the negative.
- At this juncture may I humbly refer the leadership of this country to the wisdom of A.V.Dicey when he held ‘ the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as existence of arbitrariness or prerogative or even of wide discretionary authority on the part of the government …a man may be punished for a breached of the law but cannot be punished for nothing else’(emphasis mine). Framing Charges against citizens for non-existent crimes under one law or another is unconstitutional and anti-democratic.
- May I remind humbly the leadership of this country, that we are practicing Constitutional democracy where the law is supreme and not at the whims and caprices of its leader. Everybody is under the law including the government. Every authority but not exclude government institutions established by the law are under the law and subordinate to the constitution. Peaceful protest is never and can never be an act of terrorism! It is a medium through which the citizens express their grievances against the government. It is a fundamental right of the citizens.
- As there is no doubt as to the legality of the Ex- parte order, one question that is begging for an answer is whether the order obtained by the CBN is fair, looking at the circumstances surrounding what led to obtaining the same.
- It may be foolhardy to fault the decision of the court in granting the ex-parte order as court does not base its judgment on sentiment or public opinion. In other words, court based its decisions on what is before it, i.e it is what CBN disclosed in its affidavit supporting its application before the court determines the court’s decision.
- In conclusion, one may be apt to conclude that the Ex-pate order obtained by the CBN in freezing the bank accounts of Endsars protesters maybe legal but not fair. This is an attempt to intimidate and silence people by the government over corruption and its incompetency. This should not be found in a democratic system of government .Those whose bank accounts have been frozen should approach the court.
✍️Olaniyi Timothy Olamide,Faculty of law, ABU, Zaria., firstname.lastname@example.org, 08144856315
Practical Considerations to Negotiate an Enforceable Joint Operating Agreement in Civil Law Jurisdictions (Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2020) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, LL. B (1st Class), BL (1st Class), LL.M (Calgary), LL.M (Harvard), DPhil (Oxford), Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, www.damilolaolawuyi.com. & Professor Eduardo G. Pereira, LL. B (Brazil), LL.M (Aberdeen), PhD (Aberdeen),www.eduardogpereira.com
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