NIGERIAN authorities have stepped up their persecution of leaders of the recent #EndsSARS protests with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) securing a court order empowering it to freeze the bank accounts of anyone associated with the demonstrations.
Following a month-long nationwide protest against the brutality of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit, the government came under intense criticism. After being forced to scrap Sars, the government decided to end the protests forcefully, sending soldiers to shoot innocent protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, leading to international condemnation and sparking nationwide riots.
Reeling from the bloody nose it got during the protests, the federal government has decided to clampdown on protesters and has already announced plans to restrict the use of social media across Nigeria. Earlier this week, pharmacist, Bassey Israel, who was in charge of the #EndSARS medical team in Port Harcourt, said his account with Access Bank had remained frozen since October 15.
Also, one of the movement’s lawyers Modupe Odele, was prevented from travelling to the Maldives on Monday this week. Now, the government is taking things a step further by obtaining legal authority to impose these restrictions and step up the clampdown.
This morning, the federal high court in Abuja granted the CBN’s request to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests. On October 20, the CBN filed the request the court granted the request on November 5.