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Reps threaten to sanction Emefiele over 5,000 frozen accounts





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CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele

By Tordue Salem, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, urged the Governor of Central Bank (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele to unfreeze five thousand accounts, allegedly frozen by the apex monetary institution.

The lawmakers issued the directive, after adopting a “Motion of Urgent National Importance”, sponsored by Rep. Mark Gbillah(Benue-PDP).

In raising “Concerned about the plethora of petitions and “save our soul” (SOS) appeals from Nigerian Citizens across the country In recent times about the untold hardship and poverty they are experiencing from extended freezing of their personal, corporate and other accounts by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), reports of the current unprecedented freezing of over 5000 bank accounts in Nigeria by the CBN and allegations of injustice, illegality, victimisation and prejudice by the CBN against innocent Nigerians in the freezing of their accounts.

“The burgeoning number of accounts being frozen by the CBN in Nigeria appears to be taking a huge toll on the nation’s economy and livelihood of millions of Nigerians and underscores the seeming flagrant abuse of this power by the CBN when compared to the Central Banks”, he said.

He expressed worries “about innumerable allegations from affected Nigerians that the CBN in its claim of exercising the CBN Governors powers to freeze bank accounts under Section 608 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2004, incessantly violates Nigerians the fundamental human right to a fair hearing and presumption of innocence until proven guilty as enshrined in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) when it freezes accounts arbitrarily for eXtended periods without the knowledge of the account holder, the provision of an opportunity for the account holder to provide an explanation or referral of the matter to section 608 as an appendix to the 2004 amendment of the BOFIA after it was omitted from the body of the act in the 2004 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) also raises concerns about whether this section was legitimately signed into law at the time”.

He expressed concerns ” about the plethora of impending litigation against the CBN which every Nigerian constitutionally has the right to Institute but that will distract the CBN from its primary statutory functions and unnecessarily expend monumental taxpayers funds for the acquisition of legal representation by the CBN which should ordinarily have been avoided but for the Indiscretion of its employees”.

The House in adopting the Motion resolved to “Ask the CBN to within 48hrs commence a review of ALL currently frozen accounts in Nigeria and to after one week remove the freeze order on accounts frozen under the following clear violations of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 608 of BOFIA 2004; a) Accounts frozen before a valid court order was obtained. b) Accounts frozen without obtaining a court order from the required court of competent jurisdiction”.

The lawmaker lamented that accounts were frozen without providing the opportunity for a fair hearing to the holders of the accounts.

“Accounts were frozen but till date have not been referred to the Nigeria Police Force. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency or any other appropriate regulatory authority for investigation.

“Accounts were frozen that are unconnected to the account suspected for involvement in the commission of a crime.

“Accounts remaining frozen after a court-authorized period of freeze has elapsed without obtaining a fresh order from a court of competent jurisdiction”, he stated.

He said the “Accounts frozen without documentary proof of petition or reason for suspicion of involvement in the commission of a crime”.

The House also resolved to “Mandate the House Committee on Banking and Currency to immediately invite ALL relevant and affected stakeholders to a public investigation of circumstances surrounding the freezing of ALL accounts currently frozen by the CBN in Nigeria with a view to identifying any cases of contraventions of statutory provisions by the CBN in the freezing of accounts”.

He said “Provisions of the subsisting enabling act that might require immediate amendment considering the tendency for abuse by the CBN, ambiguity of related Clause(s), contradictions with provisions of other subsisting legislation, jurisprudence or global best practice and controversy surrounding the addition of related Section of the Act after the amendment of the section on 608 as an appendix to the 2004 amendment of the BOFIA after It was omitted tom the body 01 the act In the 2004 Laws of the Federation 0! Nigeria (LFN) also raises concerns about whether this section was legitimately signed Into law at the time”.

He expressed concerns ” about the plethora oi Impending litigation against the CBN which every Nigerian constitutionally has the right to Institute but that will distract the CBN from its primary statutory functions and unnecessarily expend monumental taxpayers funds for the acquisition of legal representation by the CBN Wthh should ordinarily have been amended but for the indiscretion of Its employees.

The House resolved to be”Ask the CBN to Within 48hrs commence a review of ALL currently frozen accounts in Nigeria and to after one week remove the freeze order on accounts frozen under the following clear Violations of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 608 of BOFIA 2004″

The House mandated ” the House Committee on Banking and Currency to immediately invite ALL relevant and affected stakeholders to a public investigation of circumstances surrounding the freezing of ALL accounts currently frozen by the CBN in Nigeria with a view to identifying any cases of contraventions of statutory provisions by the CBN in the freezing of accounts.

“Any verifiable cases of victimization or vendetta against account holders by the CBN in the freezing of their accounts.

“Provisions of the subsisting enabling act that might require immediate amendment considering the tendency for abuse by the CBN. the ambiguity of related clause(s). contradictions with provisions of other subsisting legislation. jurisprudence or global best practice and controversy surrounding the addition of related Section of the Act after the amendment of the act had been published in the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004.

“Whether appropriate sanctions will be required to be recommended against erring staff of the CBN including the Governor especially when the administration of related provisions of the act is in the Governor’s name. The Committee will be required to submit a formal report to the House in Four (4) weeks for further legislative action”.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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