Fourteen out of the twenty alleged #EndSARS promoters that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, secured an order to freeze their bank accounts, on Thursday, approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to set-aside the order.
In a motion they filed through their team of lawyers led by human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, the Applicants, maintained that they were denied fair hearing by the court.
The Applicants accused the CBN of not only lying to the court when it painted them as suspected terrorists, but also engaging in gross abuse of the judicial process.
They contended that the freezing order the court issued against them on November 4, was “anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts” by the CBN.
Listing 13 grounds the court should consider and unfreeze their accounts, the Applicants, argued; “That the ex-parte order made on the 4th day of November, 2020, by this Honorable Court was made to validate an illegal act.
“The Plaintiff/Respondent unlawfully froze the accounts of the Defendants/Applicants before seeking and obtaining the orders of this Honourable Court on November 4, 2020.
“This Honorable Court on the 4th day of November, 2020 pursuant to an ex parte application brought by the Plaintiff/Respondent, made a mandatory order, inter alia, empowering the Plaintiff/Applicant to direct the head of Access Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank Plc, Guarantee Trust Bank Plc, United Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc to freeze forthwith all transactions on the 20 Bank Accounts of the Defendants/Applicants for a period of 90 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry currently being conducted by the CBN without affording the Respondents/Applicants the right of fair hearing.
“The said order of the Honorable Court permitting the Plaintiff/Respondent to freeze the Applicants account for a period of 90 days (renewable for another 90 days) breached the fundamental right of the Defendants/Applicants, to fair hearing guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004 in that no fair hearing was granted the applicant/respondent before the order was made.
“The Plaintiff/Respondent is neither one of the investigative agencies nor prosecuting agencies recognized under the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 and the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013.
“The said other violated the rights of the Defendants/Applicants to own movable property.
“There was no urgency warranting the grant of the order exparte.
“No Motion-on-Notice was filed together with the Motion Ex Parte.
“The Ex Parte order made by the Honorable Court has determined the fundamental right of the Defendants/Applicants without affording them fair hearing.
No undertaking was made as to damages.
“The order Ex Parte was anchored on misrepresentation of material facts and based on suppression of material facts.
“The order ex parte constitutes a gross abuse of the process of this Honorable Court”, the Applicants added.
More so, in a 27-paragraphed supporting affidavit that was deposed to by Marshal Abubakar, a lawyer in Falana’s Chambers, the Applicants, said they were never afforded the opportunity to defend the terrorism allegation the CBN made against them, before the ex-parte order was made, contrary to the the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004. Vanguard Nigeria