The Federal Government was able to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners after telling a Federal High Court in Abuja that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities. This is according to a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The CBN had in the second week of October frozen 20 accounts and thereafter approached the court to seek an ex parte order to freeze the accounts. In the case filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, made no mention of the fact that the 20 accounts were owned by persons involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities. In a supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, it was stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria. According to the affidavit, the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities. The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank. The accounts were said to have been flagged after they received money with the narration #EndSARS. Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.
The Federal Government on Wednesday ratified Nigeria’s membership in the African Continental Free Trade Area. The decision was taken at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. AfCTA was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union. Mohammed said with the ratification, Nigeria has beaten the December 5, 2020, deadline set for all countries to ratify their membership.
MTN Nigeria (MTNN) and Dangote Cement on Wednesday hit the ₦3 trillion market capitalisation at the close of trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. MTNN’s market capitalisation stood at ₦3.25 trillion — the biggest company by market capitalisation, followed by Dangote Cement at ₦3.15 trillion, while GTBank also crossed the trillion naira market cap to end at ₦1.05 trillion. The country’s bourse now has five companies with a trillion naira market capitalisation; MTNN, Dangote Cement, BUA Cement, Nestle Nigeria and GTBank. Local investors have continued to flock the stock market in search of returns, as yields on government debt tanked after a surprise September rate cut by the monetary policy committee (MPC). As at Wednesday, Dangote Cement offered a dividend yield of 8.89 percent; GTBank (8.08 percent) Nestle Nigeria (5 percent); MTNN (4.48 percent) and BUA Cement (3.91 percent). Shares of GTBank have gained 21.21 percent this year, and traded at ₦36 on Wednesday — the highest seen this year — while MTNN and Dangote Cement have also seen double digit growth in 2020.
The alleged financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Felicien Kabuga, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday as he made his first appearance at a UN court after a quarter of a century on the run. Once one of Rwanda’s richest men, Kabuga allegedly helped set up hate media that urged ethnic Hutus to “kill the Tutsi cockroaches” and funded militia groups. Now in his 80s, he was arrested in France in May and transferred to the court in The Hague in October to face charges of a key role in the killing of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The frail Kabuga sat in a wheelchair behind a glass screen in the courtroom, wearing a coronavirus mask. A court official helped him adjust his headphones. His defence lawyer Emmanuel Altit said Kabuga was “very tired” and “preferred not to speak”, when asked by judge Iain Bonomy if the former businessman wanted to enter a plea. “Given the situation, I would be grateful if you could consider this lack of response as a plea of not guilty on all the counts, under the rules and procedures,” Altit told the court. Kabuga, who until his arrest near Paris was one of the world’s most wanted men, had already denied the charges in his court appearances in France. The Rwandan faces seven counts including genocide, incitement to genocide, extermination and persecution. The UN court will later decide if he will be transferred to its branch in Tanzania for trial.