By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
MINISTER of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, yesterday declined to comment on the alleged freezing of accounts belonging to some perceived actors in the peaceful #EndSARS protests by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, saying he has been constrained to comment on the matter.
Alhaji Mohammed said he was not competent to comment on the matter because of the case against the perceived leaders pending in court.
When asked whether the federal government was responsible for the measures taken against the #EndSARS protesters because of their roles in the protest during the media briefing at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister said he could not talk on the issues because of the various panels of inquiry set up by the state governments.
He said: “I’m a bit constrained about addressing this issue because I know that various states have set up panels of inquiry to look into the entire #EndSARS protests with very defined terms of reference.
“So, any attempt from me now to second guess or try to defend or proffer answers to any questions, I think would be improper.
“I would rather wait for the various panels that have been set up to do their jobs.”
Recall that a leader of the movement, Modupe Odele, had been stopped from leaving the country and her international passport withheld by the Nigerian Immigration Service.
This was followed by a court case slammed against a number of the protest leaders by an individual who was perceived to have been sponsored.
The case of criminal was filed against 50 persons including musicians Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Davido, and the Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi for their roles in the #EndSARS protests that took place nationwide in October.
In the suit brought before the court, the plaintiff is asking that the defendants who promoted the protests be brought to justice for allegedly destroying his properties.
Other defendants listed in the suit are musician, Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz, and social media comedians, Debo Adebayo fondly addressed as Mr. Macaroni, and Maryam Akpaokagi also is known as Taoma.
Also included are Peter and Paul Okoye, Innocent Idibia, also known as TuFace, Bankole Wellington is popularly known as Banky W, Tiwa Savage, Michael Ajereh (Don Jazzy), and Yemi Alade.
Human rights activist, Aisha Yesufu, former Super Eagles Star, Kanu Nwankwo, a former Director-General, Bureau for Public Sector Reforms, Doctor Joe Abah, Kiki Mordi, and actors, Yul Edochie and Uche Jombo, Feyikemi Abudu, Olorunrinu Oduala, Pamilerin Adegoke, Japhet Omojuwa, Ayo Sogunro, and Deji Adeyanju., were also listed in the suit.
In his supporting affidavit, the plaintiff claimed that the defendants, using Twitter and internet web source, played active roles in the #EndSARS protest which later became violent and thereby committed an offense punishable under section 97(2) of the Penal Code Act, C53 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.