Pastor Tunde Bakare, overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church, formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, has condemned the freezing of bank accounts of #EndSARS promoters.
A federal high court sitting in Abuja had granted the Central Bank of Nigeria’s request to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests.
Speaking during a service in his church on Sunday, Bakare said the recent action of the government contradicts “the olive branch” it extended to the youth in the wake of the protests.
The cleric described the freezing of the bank accounts of the protesters as “deeply worrisome signs of regression”.
“Some of the actions recently taken by the government on the heels of the #EndSARS protests may need to be reversed sooner rather than later in our collective best interest so that they do not trigger further protests,” Bakare said.
“Among such policy actions is the freezing of the accounts of young Nigerians who reportedly sponsored the protests. While I admit that, under our extant laws, banks may freeze an account upon an ex parte order granted to a law enforcement agency by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of an investigation, these provisions of our Law should not be used to intimidate Nigerian youth simply because they engaged in and promoted protests against the inactions of government.
“Targeting and arresting citizens on trumped-up charges, deploying court probes as a tool of intimidation, and generally eroding our fragile peace, are deeply worrisome signs of regression.”
“To extend the olive branch to the youth in one breath and to deprive the youth of the right to freedom of movement and property as enshrined in our constitution in another breath, will send confusing signals and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of the government.”
On the call for the censorship of social media, Bakare said “any political group that takes the social media-savvy Nigerian youths for granted does so at its own risk or peril”.
“This is why I strongly advise the power blocs, including the South-West governors who are calling for stricter regulation of social media, to desist from doing so,” he said.