In many weeks to come, It’s expected that more of the nation’s national discourse will be centered on the ENDSARS protest, even as the government and other major stakeholders involved in the discourse continues to find a way path to resolve the various lingering Economics of the aftermath of the incident.
One of the recent issues that has been added to the various pre-existing issues generated so far in the course of the Post ENDSARS Protest is the recent freezing of the accounts of certain individuals who are stated to be the major influencer of the movement, one which is generally believed to have been hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants in the process. One that will later because of this hijacked lead to the destruction of properties, both public and private across many parts of the Country.
The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria after many allegations against it of using the men of the Nigerian Army to forcefully dispatch peaceful protesters away from venue of the Protest using guns led the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the Bank Accounts of several Individuals who played key roles in the Peacefully Protest.
While many people has continued to condemn the decision of the Federal Government to freeze these account, the activities of two banks who were involved in this process has come to the limelight and they are one worthy of evaluation and objective appraisal.
Taking into account the case of the first financial institution which is the Access bank of Nigeria, one whose management ordered the freezing of the bank accounts of the ENDSARS protesters without taking into a second thought the legality and Constitutionality of the order.
It was reported that the management of the bank had to release an open letter to the members of the public to openly apologize to the members of the public for their actions. This was after there was a nation-wide call to boycott the bank, one which is not good for the image of the financial institution and its sustenance.
While on the other hand, the Stanbic Bank refused to obey the directives of the Federal Government and that of the Central Bank of Nigeria to close the accounts of these ENDSARS Peaceful protesters. It was recorded that the financial institution had requested for a direct court order to back the decision and as the Federal Government of Nigeria was not able to provide one, they did not go ahead with the freezing of these accounts.
The tale of these two financial institutions is a mirror of the national outlook of the nation. To some extent, we live in a reality where we have a government that believes that it can Influence the decision or will of those beneath it disregarding the legality or illegality of the act.
While one financial institution had blindly obeyed the order of the federal government, the other had gone the extra mile to authenticate the legality of such decision and it not only saved it National embarrassment and condemnation, but it also gave them an outlook that can be trusted.
At this juncture, it is important to point out that all structures within a Federating and Democratic setting like Nigeria is meant to be responsible to the people, that is the populace and not the other way around.
Caution must be taken to avoid a situation where the various structures either public or private which were set up to meet the needs of the people are used to sabotage the growth and progress of the nation or militate against their will.
While the principles of the check and balances might not actually be in full Practice in Nigeria to prevent an abuse of the Executive/Legislative/Judicial power, the various agencies, structures or firms under the government or existing in the Nigerian nation must not allowed themselves to used as bait to execute the shady businesses of the federal government.
To allow themselves to be used against the people will only result to a situation whereby the people that is they mass blacklist them which will in the long run militate against the progress of their firms.
The Nation Nigeria is one that runs on a Constitution, one whose course of action is expected to be defined and directed by the provisions of the constitution. This whenever there is a case like the one painted with the Access Bank must bring to their remembrance the need for them to play it by the book.
While the rest of the nation continue to praise and appreciate the action of the Stanbic Bank to play the game by the legally recognized rules of engagement as provided in the nation’s Constitution, it is important for other Institutions to borrow a leaf from the financial institution.
Our process of Engagement and course of activities must be defined by the constitution and not because of the power that comes with the source of order.
We must ensure that our course of actions is guided by the law, Institutions under the federal government will only succeed in making themselves puppet to be pulled or Control at any time by the Federal Government. They take away their strengths and dignity when they allowed themselves to be used without given a second consideration to the legality of such actions.
In every Democratic setting in the world, the rule of Law is Supreme and must be treated as such. Popular support and legitimacy can only be gotten from the people and this is only possible when the people can vouch for the ruling political class. Thus, in the light of this, Government must not be reckless in their activities, same also applies with the populace although the emphasis is on the Government. Institutions and agencies as earlier stated must also ensure that they place themselves in a position of respect and must not allow themselves to be used as tools in the hands of the political class.
By Marcus Amudipe