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CJ defends court’s role in freezing accounts of #EndSARS sponsors

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, yesterday tried to clear the air on the freezing of accounts of alleged promoters of the #EndSARS protests that rocked the country in October.

He said that contrary to the belief in some quarters that the court intentionally froze the accounts of #EndSARS promoters, it only played its part as an interpreter of the law.

According to Justice Tsoho, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approached the court, praying for an order to freeze certain accounts of corporate bodies, and names of individuals were not attached to the applications.

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The judge, who spoke during the opening of the 2020/2021 legal year, noted that three months before the #EndSARS protest, CBN had approached the court, seeking an order to freeze certain accounts of corporate bodies.

The CJ was reacting to the speech by the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, who was represented at the occasion by Yusuf Kadiri.

Akpata had expressed disdain over the role played by court in freezing accounts of #EndSARS promoters when he said: “I must remind us of the dwindling hopes of the common man in the judiciary.

“Following the #EndSARS protests, this court was involved in the freezing of bank accounts of individuals and organisations believed to have bankrolled the process,” Akpata said.

But Tsoho recalled: “Three months before the protest, the CBN kept bringing applications almost in their hundreds based on what they call deliberate resolve to ruin the economy through money laundering.

“So, if it was the #EndSARS people that were involved in the activities under cover then it is unfortunate for people to begin to call and vilify the court making damaging allegations against the court.

“If steps were not taken, the Nigerian economy would have collapsed, that is to say about three months ago, the dollar would have exchanged far above N500.”

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