CBN links #EndSARS campaigners to terrorism – Newstrends
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CBN links #EndSARS campaigners to terrorism

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The Central Bank of Nigeria got a Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners after saying money in their accounts could be linked to terrorist activities.

This is contained in a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the CBN.

The CBN last month secured an ex parte order to freeze the accounts.

In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, made no mention of the fact that the 20 accounts were owned by persons involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities.

The written address read in part, “My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”

In a supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, it was stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.

According to the affidavit, the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.

It added, “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.

“The applicant (CBN governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.

“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”

The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.

The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

The accounts were said to have been flagged after they received money with the narration #EndSARS.

One of the frozen accounts, marked 0056412470 and domiciled in Access Bank, belongs to Bolatito Olorunrinu Oduala, an #EndSARS campaigner, who was appointed into the Lagos State judicial panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Another frozen account marked 0033974485 and domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Bassey Israel, the medical team coordinator for the #EndSARS protests in Port Harcourt.

Similarly, an account marked 0054676984 domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Gatefield Nigeria Limited, which paid freelance journalists to cover the protests.

Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.

Freezing protesters’ accounts illegal – Yesufu

A leading member of the #EndSARS protesters, Aisha Yesufu, described the freezing of the #EndSARS protesters’ accounts as illegal, noting that the government “is behaving like a terrorist.”

She questioned the freezing of the accounts ahead of the court injunction ordering the banks to block the accounts.

Yesufu stated, “The question is, why did they freeze the accounts before obtaining a court injunction? Why the illegality? Our judiciary should know that it is an independent arm of government and there is separation of power.

“The government should be ashamed of itself. The United Arab Emirates just convicted some Nigerians, who were accused of terrorism, and we are hearing that the government would appeal on their behalf. That is where the problem is.”

The activist accused the Federal Government of pampering insurgents, while bearing down on peaceful and harmless protesters.

She added, “#EndSARS campaigners are protesters and they protested the way the Constitution allows, so all these are shenanigans. They had better focus on the terrorists.

“Bandits are laying down their arms and they are taking them to Government Houses, while Boko Haram members are being given preferential treatment, but Nigerians, who were protesting, were being killed by the government. The government is the one behaving like a terrorist right now.”

-The Punch

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Forex: Naira sells at N1,500/$ parallel market

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Forex: Naira sells at N1,500/$ parallel market

 

Naira traded at N1,500/$ on Wednesday at the parallel market, representing a gain of 9.09 percent from N1,650/$ recorded on Monday.

The Bureau de Change (BDC) operators, quoted the buying rate at N1,450 and the selling price at N1,500 — leaving a profit margin of N50.

At the country’s official window, the naira also appreciated to N1609.51 against the dollar on Wednesday — a 1.67 percent increase from the N1,582.94/$ traded on Monday.

Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said the naira is undervalued largely due to distortions by perpetrators in the foreign exchange market.

“As and when we come up with these distortions, we will take them off and throw them away and where there are distortions that come about as a result of bad behaviour, we will ensure that those who do it will face the music as a deterrent to ensure that others in future do not take that route,” Cardoso said.

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Just in: Air Peace crashes London flight fare to N1.2m

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Air Peace crashes London flight fare to N1.2m

Travellers on Air Peace London flight will pay N1.2 million and N4 million respectively for Economy and Business classes, with effect from March 30.

The airline announced this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Lagos by its Corporate Communications Lead, Mr Stanley Olisa.

Flight tickets for London in Nigeria are between N2.3 million and N4.2 million for economy and N6 million for business class.

Olisa said the flight schedules for Air Peace London route available on the airline’s website showed that it had crashed the price of its flight tickets.

“A return economy class ticket goes for N1.2 million, while a return business class ticket sells for N4 million.

“Nigerians studying in the United Kingdom can also now access their special 15 per cent rebate on the already reduced economy fares.”

The airline had announced a special fare for Nigerian students in the UK when it hosted travel agents in Lagos in preparation for the launch of the London route.

Olisa also said London would be the airline’s seventh international destination since kicking off operations about 10 years ago.

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Breaking: MTN, others get approval to block SIMs without NIN from Feb 28

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Breaking: MTN, others get approval to block SIMs without NIN from Feb 28

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has given approval to telecom operators to bar telephone subscribers not linked to their National Identification Numbers (NIN) by February 28, 2024.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr Aminu Maida, disclosed this on Wednesday during the NCC’s Special Day at the 45th Kaduna International Trade Fair.

Maida, represented by Reuben Mouka, NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, said for national security, telecom consumers must link their NIN to their SIM.

He reiterated that the February 28 deadline given to telecom operators to bar subscribers who failed to link their NIN to SIM, remained unchanged.

Mouka said, “The National Communication Commission has directed all telecommunication operators to bar phone lines of subscribers whose lines are not linked to their NINs on or before February 28, 2024.

“As a regulator of the telecommunications sector in the country, the Commission carries out its functions to ensure service availability, affordability, and sustainability for all categories of consumers, who are leveraging ICT/Telecoms to drive personal and business activities.

“Conversely, as we promote economic growth through the development of local content, we must also address the challenges faced by consumers and NCC is committed to protecting their rights while ensuring their satisfaction.”

The NCC boss, therefore, urged telecom firms to prioritize customer satisfaction and uphold the highest standards of service delivery, noting that the commission has implemented measures to safeguard the interests of consumers and businesses alike.

One such measure, he said, was the NCC’s directive on May 17, 2023, that all licensed Mobile Network Operators commence implementation of approved Harmonised Short Codes for providing services to Nigerian telecom consumers.

He added: “The new initiative is enabling consumers using the over 224 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria to use the same codes to access services across all networks.”

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