THE House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the allegation that the Central Bank of Nigeria has flagged over 5,000 private and corporate accounts in Deposit Money Banks. The move followed the unanimous adoption of the motion moved at the plenary on Tuesday, titled ‘Allegations of unjustifiable, inhuman, illegal and premeditated freezing of bank accounts in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria.’
Adopting the motion, the House asked the CBN to, within 48 hours, commence a review of all currently frozen accounts in Nigeria and after one week, remove the freeze order on accounts frozen, in clear violations of the provisions of the 1999 and Section 608 of BOFIA 2004.
The categories of the illegal freezing of accounts, the House said, are accounts frozen before a valid court order was obtained, accounts frozen without obtaining a court order, accounts frozen without providing the opportunity for fair hearing to the account holder, and accounts frozen but till date, have not being referred to the Nigeria Police Force, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency or any other appropriate regulatory authority for investigation.
Others are the accounts frozen that are unconnected to the account suspected for involvement in the commission of crime, accounts remaining frozen after court’s authorised period of freeze has elapsed without obtaining a fresh order from a court, accounts remaining frozen even after investigation has not indicted the account holder, and accounts frozen without documentary proof of petition or reason for suspicion of involvement in the commission of crime.
The House also mandated the Committee on Banking and Currency to “immediately invite all relevant and affected stakeholders to a public investigation of the circumstances surrounding the freezing of all accounts currently frozen by the CBN in Nigeria.”