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#EndSARS: Why I ordered suspension of Flutterwave’s payment platform- Tunde Lemo


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TUNDE Lemo, a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chairman of Flutterwave, a payment technology company says he ordered the suspension of the fintech firm’s payment platform, to prevent illicit financial flow.

The Fintech firm has provided a platform to gather donations to provide medical and legal aid, food and drinks for #EndSARS protesters across the country.

But there were reports on social media Tuesday that the CBN has placed a ban on the platform as a measure to clip the wings of the protesters.

While reacting to this development, Lemo was quoted in a report by This Day that he gave the order that the platform be shut down to check the activities of fraudsters.

“I was the one that instructed them to shut down their system yesterday when the bad guys were moving money through them,” Lemo explained, This Day reports.

In support of the #EndSARS protest, the staff of Flutterwave announced on October 9, that they had started an internal fund generation, raising up to N2 million to support injured protestors.

Flutterwave and Feminist Coalition, a pro-#EndSARS women group have been at the fore front of raising funds for victims of the ENDSARS protests.

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On Tuesday, the Feminist Coalition via its Twitter page announced that its account had come under attack, disclosing that the bank account linked to the donation fund had been deactivated and the donation link severed.

For demanding an end to police brutality we are now under attack! Our bank account has been deactivated and so has the Flutterwave donation link. Our members’ lives are also being threatened! #SARSMustEnd,” the tweet read. 

The suspected move by the government to cut off the essential lifeline of the protestors has met even more resistance. Nigerian youths on social media have criticised what they believed to be an attack on Flutterwave and expressed their solidarity with the payment platform.

Japheth Omojuwa, a Nigerian youth and Chevening scholar in a series of tweets expressed his displeasure with the alleged ban against Flutterwave.

“If they shutdown Flutterwave, we have a valid claim to submit names to the UK, US, Swiss etc embassies to ban everyone involved because that’d be a direct affront on human rights. Not worse than election rigging,” one of his tweets read.

However, in a more recent tweet, he stated that the donation link would be reset, noting that the government was not attacking Flutterwave.

“I have now been informed that the government isn’t shutting Flutterwave down. So we are clear on that. No one is shutting Flutterwave down. They will reset the donation link and get things going again. We are good,” he tweeted.

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Nigerians have since last week across the country been on a  protest against police brutality demanding the complete abolition of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Since the beginning of the protest, several cases of brutality have been recorded, including the deaths of a number of youths who have allegedly been gunned down by police officers.

On Tuesday, the Nigerian Security Operatives during the EndSARS protest held in Abuja, assaulted, and seized the camera belonging to the Arise news crew covering the protest.

The ICIR reported that the television station’s crew members were trying to get the reactions of protesters at the National Assembly, Abuja when they were attacked by the security operatives who wore the Nigerian military uniform.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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