The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has been asked to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over allegations of extremism.
Rinu Racheal Oduala, who was among #EndSARS campaigners whose accounts were frozen by the CBN for allegedly funding “terrorism”, made the call in a tweet on Thursday.
She said the same way the financial institution froze her accounts pending conclusion of its investigation, it should replicate the same on the minister.
“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?,” she asked.
THE WHISTLER reported that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on February 10 ordered the CBN to unfreeze the bank accounts belonging to Rinu and 19 other defendants associated with the #EndSARS protests which had called for an end to police brutality.
Pantami has been on the spotlight regarding his past controversial comments which support activities of terrorists.
Some say he still holds such views even as a minister.
But in his reaction, Pantami claimed that he had changed his views, saying “Some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.”
Speaking with THE WHISTLER on Thursday, Abubakar Marshal (of the Falana and Falana Chambers) who represented the #EndSARS protesters in court, said if CBN will take the step to investigate the Communication Minister over the allegations, and it is found out to be accurate, then his accounts should be frozen.
He said what the CBN ought to do was to investigate before freezing accounts, not freezing and then investigate.
“I’m not saying they should outrightly freeze his account, what I’m saying is that the CBN should do a discreet investigation to discover or to unravel the level of relationship that he (allegedly) maintains with this terrorist organization he has openly supported and if it is shown he has terrorist funding from any of these organizations, his account should be frozen and the funds therein should be forfeited to the federal government,” he said.
He also added that the Department of State Service (DSS) should not be quiet over the matter as it would amount to bias on its part.
“The right to do at this moment is for the Department of State Service to show that they are not just out to hunt persons who belong to a particular ethnic group or religion…the DSS is for all Nigerians.
“If someone openly endorses terrorism, such individuals should as a matter of urgency be investigated to find out the level of involvement with such a terrorist organization,” Marshal said.