Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said the federal government was not wrong to freeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners, and cannot be intimidated over the decision.
Malami who spoke on a live television programme last on Wednesday, argued that the government was not wrong to freeze accounts, and will only obey court orders to unfreeze same if it thinks it’s right.
“Government is not wrong particularly in circumstances that justifies intense investigation. It is the end result of an investigation that can determine whether government is right or wrong as determine by the court on the basis of the facts presented,” he said.
Following the destruction that trailed the #EndSARS protests last October, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) obtained a court order to freeze the accounts of the #EndSARS promoters.
However, a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday ordered the CBN to unfreeze the accounts of the #EndSARS campaigners.
But speaking on the decision of the court, Malami said the decision to comply with the court order or not would not be out of intimidation, adding that the government cannot be intimidated.
“The decision to comply with the court order or not is not a decision that is a product of intimidation; government cannot be intimidated, government cannot in anyway be compromised as far as the exercise of its constitutional powers are concerned but that does not mean the government is perpetually inconsiderate,” he said.
“The bottom-line is that the public interest matters most in whatever decision the government arrives at as far as compliance or non-compliance with the orders or judgments of the court are concerned. Intimidation is out of it, threats are out of it, constitutionality is the bottom-line.”
The AGF further said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was lenient with the #EndSARS protesters, adding that no government all over the world can tolerate a situation where scores of policemen were murdered because citizens expressed their rights to lawful assembly and freedom of expression.
He stressed that the government would continue to protect Nigerians and their constitutional rights.
“The government is there to ensure there are no security threats and in so doing the true position of things is that it is the responsibility of the government to accord protection to the lives of the citizens, their personal liberty, freedom of movement, and indeed accord protection to all the constitutionally guaranteed rights of individuals.
“So, the government, can, on no account, be forced to submission when protection of these rights are concerned,” the minister said