Emerging report reaching indicates that the President Muhammadu Buhari Federal Government, has begun a clampdown on the Promoters of the peaceful EndSARS protests, by freezing their Bank accounts, and stopping them from traveling outside the country, allegedly.
Some EndSARS Promoters, who spoke separately to The PUNCH, said that their Banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had directed that their accounts be frozen.
On Tuesday, some other Promoters of the peaceful protests revealed that their Bank accounts have been frozen for the past two weeks.
The CBN, according to multiple complaints received, reportedly instructed the Banks to place a ‘Post No Debit’ restriction on the said accounts.
It was learnt that 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 the accounts receiving the funds were frozen.
Speaking, A Pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who is in charge of the EndSARS Medical team, in Port Harcourt, stated that his account with Access Bank marked 003397XXXX, has remained frozen since October 15.
According to him, when he learnt of the development, he went to the Bank to find out the reason for it, and was told by a Bank Officer that the directive came from the Apex Bank.
His words: “I am in charge of EndSARS 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 EndSARS 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.
“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 would not 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’.”
When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said: “I know many persons that have this same challenge.”
Another EndSARS protester revealed that she has not been able to access her account, and had been informed that it was frozen.
She, however, wished to remain anonymous, for fear of being victimised by the President Buhari 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 have been frozen.
The Acting Spokesman for the CBN, Abdulmumin Isa, who was first contacted last week on the telephone, asked the Correspondent to give him some time.
However, after one week of waiting, Isa is yet to provide any information on the matter.
The Spokesman for Access Bank, Abdul Imoyo, said that he could not make comments on individual accounts of customers, for confidentiality reasons.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, on Monday, prevented a Promoter of the EndSARS movement, Modupe Odele, from travelling out of the country on holiday.
Although, the NIS Officers did not disclose the reason for their action, 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.
She had also ensured that free legal aid was given to persons who were unjustly arrested during the peaceful protests.
Confirming the development in a newsletter sent out on Monday, the she said that 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.’”
Odele said she was detained, while her passport was seized by the Officers, and she was made to miss her flight.
The Spokesman for the NIS, Sunday James, stated that he did not have any information on the matter, but promised to find out.
There were reports that the Federal Government has begun going after notable persons in the EndSARS protests, and has placed some of them on a ‘no-fly list’.
However, the Federal Ministry of Interior denied the allegation on Tuesday, saying that, it did not generate any ‘no-fly list’.
Reacting to the reported freezing of bank accounts belonging to supporters of the protests, the EndSARS protesters said that President Buhari is simply displaying the traits of a Dictator.
A member of the group, Dayo Ariyo-Atoye, noted that it is unfortunate that the President Buhari administration would take extrajudicial measures to curtail the peaceful EndSARS campaign.
His words: “What we have seen is worrisome and totally condemnable and unfortunate. It is not impossible that this government can take an illegal measure to curtail the #EndSARS campaign, especially now that the Northern irredentists are calling for a crackdown on social media and free speech.
“So, it is not unexpected that this government can do it. As a Military Head of State, General Buhari did it. As a Civilian, he is also showing the same traits of Military Dictatorship.
“If the government has compiled names of protesters to stop them from leaving the country in violation of their rights, we may compile the names of their family members in foreign countries, and seek visa ban for the Leaders. We would write to the foreign governments to repatriate their family members living abroad.”
More news later…