Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), said on Thursday that #EndSARS protesters were not economic saboteurs as suggested by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, on Tuesday.
Justice Tsoho had at the ceremony marking the commencement of the 2020/2021 legal year of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, tried to justify the order issued by another judge of the court, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, freezing the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters.
He said three months the protests, the Central Bank of Nigeria kept filing applications in their hundreds to tackle deliberate attempts to ruin the economy through money laundering.
He added, “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.”
Asked to respond to the Chief Judge’s attempt to link the protest promoters to economic sabotage, Falana said on Thursday that the protest promoters were not economic saboteurs but patriotic citizens.
Falana, who is a lawyer to the #EndSARS protesters whose accounts were frozen by the apex bank, recalled that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, held a virtual meeting with the promoters in the wake of the peaceful protests.
He said Emefiele resorted to obtaining ex parte order to freeze the accounts of the protest promoters after failing to convince them to call off the protest.
He said, “Since the application of the 20 #EndSARS promoters seeking to quash the ex parte order freezing their bank accounts is pending before the Federal High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice R.A. Mohammed, I have persuaded our clients to refrain from joining issues with the Honourable Chief Judge over the controversial ex cathedra statement.
“However, it is pertinent to state that the 20 #EndSARS were not sued as corporate bodies but as individuals whose names and bank accounts are listed in all the processes filed in the court by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“I wish to say, without any fear of contradiction that the #EndSARS protesters are not economic saboteurs but patriotic citizens who protested against incessant police brutality.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the case was filed on October 20, 2020, while the order ex parte was issued on November 4, 2020, after the #EndSARS protests.”