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SHOCKING: FG Clamps Down On #EndSARS Promoters, Freezes Accounts, Blocks Them From Travelling

FILE: EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate before the shootings


• CBN places ‘post no debit’ restriction on pharmacist’s account

• Lawyer accuses Nigeria Immigration Service of stopping her trip abroad

• Federal Government’s panel gets 160 petitions, begins sitting today

By Eniola Akinkuotu and Adelani Adepegba

There were strong indications on Tuesday that the Federal Government had begun a clampdown on promoters of #EndSARS protests by freezing their bank accounts.

Some #EndSARS promoters, who spoke separately to The PUNCH,  said their banks informed them that the Central Bank of Nigeria had directed that their accounts should be frozen.

Last months, youths calling for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police protested for two weeks in major cities of the country.

On Tuesday, some promoters of the protests said their accounts had been frozen for the past two weeks.

The CBN, according to multiple complaints received by The PUNCH, reportedly instructed banks to place a ‘Post No Debit’ restriction on the accounts.

The banks, it was learnt, 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.

Speaking to The PUNCH, a pharmacist, Bassey Israel, 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.

According to him, when he learnt of the development, he went to 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.

“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.”

When asked if others had similar problems, Israel said, “I know many persons that have this same challenge.”

Israel said the money in the frozen account was a substantial sum.

Another #EndSARS protester told one of  our correspondents that she had 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 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.

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 had yet to provide any information on the matter.

The Spokesman for Access Bank, Abdul Imoyo, said he could not make comments on individual accounts of customers for confidentiality reasons.

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

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 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.’”

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, said he did not have any information on the matter but promised to find out.

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.”

Buhari displaying traits of a dictator – #EndSARS protesters

Reacting to the reported freezing of bank accounts belonging to supporters of the campaign, the #EndSARS protesters said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was simply displaying the traits of a dictator.

A member of the group, Dayo Ariyo-Atoye,  in an interview with The PUNCH, said it was unfortunate that Buhari’s regime would take extrajudicial measures to curtail the #EndSARS campaign.

He stated, “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.”

On what the #EndSARS movement would do, Ariyo-Atoye said his group would request foreign governments to repatriate the families of all government officials living abroad.

“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,” he stated.

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#EndSARS: Cease With Violent Crackdown On Peaceful Nigerian Youth Protesters —Joe Biden Warns Buhari

Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden

United Sates democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden has urged President Mohammadu Buhari to desist from using Military officials on peaceful protesters.

Biden made the call in a statement released via its Presidential campaign site on Wednesday, acknowledging that the agitation by the Nigerian youths was justified.

He also advised the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with its citizens and address long-standing grievances.

The statement

“I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths.

“My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one in the violence.

“The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy.

Joe Biden

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Johannesburg South Townships Mobilise For Massive Protest On Friday

Protests over lack of housing continues in the south of Johannesburg despite government’s promise to residents that the plan will provided within two weeks.

The protests started in Eldorado Park on Monday and quickly spread to other neighboring areas, Ennerdale, Klipspruit, Finetown and Orange Farm.

According to EWN reporter, Mia Lindeque, Ennerdale residents say they do not want to speak to any government official.

The schooling has also been suspended for the past three days in Ennerdale and Eldorado Park.

 

EWN reports seeing a notice circulating in these communities inviting residents to join a massive protest on Friday.

Yesterday Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said these protests are led by drug kingpins and peddler.

Municipal IQ economist, Karen Heese, says though protests may provide an opportunity for criminal activity, they are are not planned by criminals.

 

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Protesters Shut Down MTN Lagos Office In Protest Over Xenophobic Attacks

xenophobicattacks

Protest at MTN office against xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa

Saheed Olugbon

Protesters under the aegis of the Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Centre on Friday disrupted business activities at the MTN headquarters at Falomo, Lagos, over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

Business activities were stalled for over three hours at the telecommunications company’s premises, a situation which also affected other businesses in the building as the protesters did not allow vehicular movements into the premises.

The protesters expressed their grievances with placards displaying inscriptions such as “Stop xenophobia”, “Stop the killings and looting”, “Let peace reign in Africa”, “Let’s show love to one another” and “Nelson Mandela is our hero”.

President of Human Rights Defenders and Advocacy Centre, Queen Rose Ameh, described the attacks on Nigerians and other African citizens as a barbaric attitude towards fellow human beings, urging that an urgent attention is needed to halt the crisis.

“Killing of innocent Africans living in South Africa is a barbaric attitude towards our fellow human beings,” she said.

She stated that this was not the first time South Africans would attack other Africans.

“It happened about two or three years ago. We went to the South African embassy at the time and shut it down,” she said.

She described the South African Government as an ingrate because of the role Nigeria and other African countries played during the reign of apartheid in the country.

Ameh urged the Nigerian government to develop its country so that no citizen would have any cause to travel to other African countries to suffer.  (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

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DSS Accuses Wike Of Sponsoring Abuja Protests |The Republican News

Olusola Fabiyi,  Chukwudi Akasike  and Leke Baiyewu

The Department of State Services has accused the Governor of Rivers State, Mr.  Nyesom Wike, of sponsoring protests to disrupt public peace in strategic Federal Government’s offices in Abuja and its environs.

The DSS said that the plot behind the alleged protests was to provoke a violent breach of peace in the Federal Capital Territory.

The DSS stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its spokesperson, Mr. Tony Opuiyo.

He said that the sinister plot by Wike to disrupt the machinery of governance in strategic Federal Government agencies by provoking a violent breach of peace was discovered during an intelligence gathering.

He said the plan was aimed at causing crisis during the Christmas and the New Year festivities.

However, Wike has denied the allegation, wondering whether those who protested against him in the past were also sponsored.

The governor said he had nothing to do with the man being accused of organising the protests.

But the DSS insisted that Wike had secured the services of Mr. Ugochinyere Ikenga, a personal aide to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to mobilise hoodlums to execute the plan.

Opuiyo stated that the aim of the plot was intended to divert public and international attention from the ongoing police investigation into “the unwholesome role played by the governor and some of his cronies in the violence that trailed the re-run election in Rivers State which resulted in the gruesome murder of civilians including the beheading of DSP Mohammed Alkali and some of his colleagues as well as the brutalisation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (members of ) staff who failed to do the bidding of the governor.”

Opuiyo added that in furtherance of this plot, protesters were to besiege the National Human Rights Commission, the INEC headquarters, the National Assembly complex, the Nigerian Army and the Police headquarters as well as the British High Commission, US Embassy and the United Nations Secretariat, Abuja.

This, the DSS spokesperson said, was to raise false alarm that Rivers State was under the siege of security agencies during the elections.

He said that while the obvious aim was to draw public sympathy and international attention to spurious allegations of involvement of federal agencies in the violence that marred the last elections in Rivers State, Opuiyo insisted that the actual objective was really to trigger violent action against the government and create opportunity for those he called idlers to join the deceitful protest.

He said,  “Part of the orchestration is to provoke the security agencies and prompt them to take action against the protesters that could result in bloodletting.

“It is in this line that Ikenga had gone to the outskirts of Abuja to mobilise unemployed youths to carry out his bidding.

“All this was to be done for a fee and resources to be provided from the treasury of the Rivers State Government. It is also worrisome that  Ikenga  would engage in this nefarious plot when, after his last arrest earlier this year by the DSS, he had pledged to be law abiding and not to cause a breach of the peace.”

Opuiyo said that the trio of Emeka Idiba,Ugo Apaumagha and Ejike Nwachukwu had been arrested and were helping the DSS with further investigations.

He said, “These men were picked up at the mobilisation venue trying to perfect the logistics for this unholy enterprise.

“The young men were hired by Ikenga to take custody of items and materials for the planned violent protest.

“The recovered items include banners, placards and posters with denigrating, inciting and hate inscriptions meant to impinge the authority of the Federal Government and further subvert the entire machinery of governance in the country.

“In order to make this look credible, Ikenga and his cohorts had adopted such groups as Lawyers in Defence of Democracy and Citizens for Good Governance as cover to supposedly make them look like serious minded civil rights groups and thus bring them into collision course with security agencies.”

Opuiyo added that  investigations had so far revealed that while Ikenga was the field organiser and coordinator of the planned protest, he alleged that Wike was his sole financial sponsor.

But Wike said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents that he was not responsible for the failed protest.

He said, “Was I the one who also organised the protest against myself? Why can’t they also tell us those behind that?

“I don’t know the man you just mentioned as being the suspect. I’m not interested in such protests.

“All I’m interested in is peace in my state and I have said this before. I think the DSS is partisan.”

Also, the Rivers State Government has described the statement by the DSS as a false and baseless alarm.

The Commissioner for Information and Communication in Rivers State, Dr. Austin Tam-George, said, “It is an irresponsible scaremongering by an agency that seems bent on a mission to blackmail the governor of Rivers State and bring the state government into disrepute.

“Governor Wike is a man of peace and would never orchestrate disturbances in any part of the country. The Rivers State Government challenges the DSS to leave Governor Wike alone, and instead focus their operational attention on the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed over 70, 000 people, and displaced six million Nigerians in the past six years.”

Saraki has also stated that he would  not condone law breaking by his aides. (Punchng.com)

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

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