UPDATED: Court Orders CBN To Unfreeze #EndSARS Protesters’ Bank Accounts

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unfreeze the bank accounts belonging to one Bolatito Racheal Oduala and 19 other defendants associated with the #EndSARS protests.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order after the CBN counsel, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), and Femi Falana SAN agreed to withdraw their suits for the sake of peace.

“The court hereby commend the learned counsels.

“All processes filed are deemed to have been withdrawn…

“The court order made by this court is hereby set aside and the accounts should be de-freezed immediately,” he said.

The CBN order was said to have expired after a 90-day period stipulated by the court.

Recall that Justice Mohammed had on November 4, 2020, granted an ex parte motion by the CBN, directing the heads of some Nigerian banks to freeze all transactions on the 20 bank accounts of the #EndSARS protesters for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of an investigation and inquiry being conducted by the CBN.

As such, Falana sought to vacate the order.

But the CBN Counsel, Aondoakaa SAN told the judge on Wednesday that even though he had a motion (dated February 9) for extension of the order, he had been instructed by his client to withdraw it but on the condition that Falana SAN must withdraw his too.

He admitted that the matter involved young people and it would be better to resolve the issues amicably.

“I am advised that let us discard the matter; if he is ready to discard his motion, I will let the matter rest.

“The Government has set up a reconciliation team…If he withdraws his paper, I will also withdraw mine,” he said, adding that he wanted everyone to “go home peacefully”.

On his part, Falana withdrew his motion.

“I confirm that I and my learned friend discussed on the way forward on this matter.

“As my friend has observed that the ex-parte order expired last week…our motion to have the order quashed has been overtaken by events since it has expired, we therefore pray this honorable court to allow us to withdraw the same motion.

“My lord, that will also affect all other processes filed in this matter and I also confirm that judicial Commission of inquiries on police brutality are going on…which caused the EndSARs protest last year,” he said.

Subsequently, Aondoakaa SAN urged the judge to vacate the earlier order; and he granted it.

EndSARS started as a series of mass protests against police brutality, but evolved into movement against bad governance in Nigeria.