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NAS condemns clampdown on #EndSARS protesters by govt, calls on CBN to unfreeze bank accounts

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THE National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, has called on the Nigerian government to halt its attempts to muzzle #EndSARS protesters, who have been demanding for an end to police brutality and bad governance in the country.

In a statement signed by Abiola Owoaje, the national president of the Seadogs, the group called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to unfreeze the bank accounts of champion of the #EndSARS movement, urging the government to deal in good faith and stop stifling the citizens for speaking against ills in the country.

In the past weeks, the government, through key agencies including the CBN and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) have clampdown on citizens who actively participated in the #EndSARS protests that carried on for 12 consecutive days.

In its most recent attack, the CBN illegally restricted the bank accounts of 20 champion of the protests, violating extant regulatory procedure to do so. After breaking the law, the CBN sought a court order to freeze the bank account, portraying the protesters as terrorists to the court.

In another instance, Modupe Odele, one of the lawyers who organised legal aid for the protesters had her international passport seized by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) while she tried leaving the country for the Maldives.

NAS also expressed worry over the looming famine that might overtake the country, given the hike in food and fuel prices, while the nation still gapples with the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At a time when the economy of Nigeria is tottering, food prices beyond the reach of the masses and famine looms over the country, in part due to the unrestrained attacks on farmers by terrorists and bandits, the Central Bank Governor found it more salient to approach the Court to freeze the accounts of peaceful protesters,” the statement read in part.

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Condemning the actions of the government against protesters, the Pyrates Confraternity highlighted three demand necessary to ensure the progress of the country.

“We call on principal officers of different government institutions to resist being party to the harassment and intimidation of innocent Nigerians.

“We call on the Federal Government to direct its agencies and institutions to stop forthwith the harassment of partakers in the #EndSARS protests.

“Flowing from the above, we also call on the CBN to immediately unfreeze the accounts of the #EndSARS supporters,” the demands itemized in the statement reads.

The National Association of Seadogs, popularly known as Pyrates Confraternity is a confraternity organisation in Nigeria founded in 1952 by the “Magnificent Seven” to support for human rights and social justice in Nigeria.

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

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