Central Bank of Nigeria has been asked to unfreeze all currently frozen accounts in Nigeria within 48 hours by members of Nigeria House of Representatives. Members of the House in a resolution also asked the apex bank to remove the freeze order on accounts unconstitutionally frozen, after one week. The resolution followed the passage of a motion brought under urgent national importance by Mark Gbillah, with the caption “Allegations of unjustified inhuman, illegal and premeditated freezing of bank accounts in Nigeria by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
Gbilla had argued that that for an account to be frozen, it must have violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 608 of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 2004). In his motion, Gbillah expressed concern about the plethora of petitions and appeals from Nigerians about the hardship and poverty they had experienced as a result of the extended freezing of their personal, corporate and other accounts by the CBN. The lawmaker said there were reports of the current unprecedented freezing of over 5,000 bank accounts by the CBN and allegations of injustice, illegality, victimisation and prejudice by the regulator against innocent Nigerians in the freezing of their accounts.
“The burgeoning number of accounts being frozen by the CBN in Nigeria appears to be taking a huge toll on the nation’s economy and livelihood of millions of Nigerians and underscores the seeming flagrant abuse of this power by the CBN when compared to the central banks’ Treasuries and Federal Reserves of other climes,” he said.