Nigerian government goes after #EndSARS promoters


File Photo: EndSARS Protesters

Some of the notable names who promoted the protest against police brutality, in line with the tagline #EndSARS, have cried out with the claims that the Federal Government had begun to suppress their rights.

Last month, youths protested for two weeks in Lagos, Abuja and other major cities of the country and were provided with food, medical care, and other supplies.

However, On Tuesday, some of the promoters behind the welfare of the protesters said their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria had directed that their accounts should be frozen.

According to their claims, the banks were able to implement the directive by tracking the ‘narration’ of transactions.

Bank transactions that included the narration #EndSARS or End SARS were immediately flagged while such accounts receiving funds were frozen.

One of the promoters, Bassey Israel, a pharmacist, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX had remained frozen since October 15.

Bassey said he learned of the development when he visited the bank to find out the reason for it.

Israel said he was informed by a bank officer that the directive came from the apex bank.

He said, “I am in charge of End SARS medical team in Port Harcourt and we had people donating for medical supplies, food, water, ambulance services, and these donations were made directly into my account and of course these donations had End SARS descriptions so I think that was how they were able to flag my account. I noticed that on October 15, I was trying to make a debit transaction on my account and noticed that there was a restriction.

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“So, I called the bank and I was told that there was indeed a restriction but I should go to any branch near me and when I did so, the branch manager sent a mail to the branch where I opened the account. The response to the mail was that there was a directive from the CBN to restrict the account.

“The lady was surprised and even asked me if I had any issue with the CBN and I responded that if I had any issue with the CBN, I wouldn’t be in the bank in the first place, I would be on the run. I asked what could be done and she gave me no answer. She had to show me the mail on her computer which I read. It was directly from the CBN and it read, ‘Place this account on PND.”

Israel also noted that others had similar problems. He said: “I know many persons that have this same challenge.”

Another #EndSARS protester who spoke on condition of anonymity said she had also been informed by her bank that her account has been placed on ‘Post No Debit’.

She noted that she wants to be anonymous for fear of being victimised by the government.

One of the promoters of the #EndSARS movement, Feyikemi Abudu, also confirmed in a tweet that the accounts of several persons involved in the protests had been frozen.

However, the acting Spokesman for the CBN, Abdulmumin Isa, is yet to provide any information on the matter after many attempts to reach him proved abortive.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday also prevented a promoter of the #EndSARS movement, Modupe Odele, from travelling.

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The reason for the action was not disclosed but it is believed that the action was taken because of her alleged role in the #EndSARS protests.

Odele, had through her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, mobilised her 219,000 followers during the protests and also ensured that free legal aid was given to persons who were unjustly arrested during the demonstrations.

Confirming the development in a newsletter sent out on Monday, the lawyer said she was on her way to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday when she was accosted by immigration officers.

She wrote, “For my birthday, I had planned a trip to the Maldives. It was really for a break as the events of the last three weeks have exhausted my mind and body in a way I have never been exhausted in my life.

“I went to the airport, passed through immigration, and while I was putting my bags through the body and baggage scanner, the immigration officer who had previously cleared me, called me back. He told me he had orders from above to detain me.

“Okay, at this point I’m like excuse me, my flight is in an hour. On what grounds are you detaining me?” He didn’t respond. Instead, he goes to his computer where he typed in my name, and something that looked like a ‘wanted poster’ popped up on the portal.

“He blocked my view so I couldn’t see most of it but I saw some of it. And it read something like – ‘This person is under investigation by XYZ Intelligence Agency. If seen, they should be apprehended on sight.’”

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Odele said she was detained while her passport was seized by the officers and she was made to miss her flight.

However, the Spokesman for the NIS, Sunday James, said he did not have any information on the matter.

There were reports that the Federal Government had begun going after notable persons in the #EndSARS protests and had placed some of them on a ‘no fly list.’

However, the Federal Ministry of Interior denied the allegation, saying it did not generate any ‘no fly list.”



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