Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, says #EndSARS promoters whose bank accounts were frozen by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should explain how they got funds.
Akeredolu spoke when he featured on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television Programme, on Wednesday.
A federal high court in Abuja, on Friday, had granted the request of the CBN to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the #EndSARS protests.
Akeredolu, who is the chairman of the south-west governors forum, said it is clear that some of the promoters of the protests received funds for other reasons than for the purpose of the demonstrations.
He said the issue was discussed during its last regional meeting of governors, traditional rulers and stakeholders in the aftermath of the protests.
According to Akeredolu, there is nothing wrong with the action of the CBN and it is not a conclusion that the accounts were used to sponsor acts of terrorism.
“The issue of the accounts that were frozen was discussed but nobody said in the communique that we appreciated the government for freezing the accounts,” he said.
“We know that there are ways we can get a few things done without putting it in the public glare and start contestation on the pages of newspapers. We know what we decided and we know what we want to do about that, but when the issue was raised, it generated some debates here and there.
“But it was so clear that probably some people were getting to fund this for reasons other than EndSARS. So if you know money went from accounts that are suspicious, then do you say the government should just keep quiet?
“If you know money went from accounts that people believe that ‘look, this is not in essence and could not have been the issue of EndSARS’, can anybody be putting that money to fund hoodlums to destroy things? And you think the government should fold its hands? No.
“So these are things we have to look at and probably separate. That is why the decision was taken. It is something we are looking into.”
On the suspension of the Lagos state judicial panel of inquiry owing to the freezing of accounts of #EndSARS promoters who are on the panel, the governor said he would advise the affected individuals to continue with the probe and justify the funds in their accounts.
“If I were to be counsel to those people, I will not advise them not to appear at the panel. Accounts are frozen; is that the first time it is done? So, do they have other purposes they want to put the account to use immediately? So if your account is frozen, you justify why the money is there. You come and explain to what use the money was put there for.
“It will be explained and the accounts will be unfrozen. Accounts that are frozen are not like there is a conclusion that the account was used for nefarious activity or acts of treason. It is just we suspect this account and you can explain and the account will be unfrozen. So, I don’t see anything wrong with it.
“It’s not like because you are in a tribunal, you wait till it ends before your account is frozen. If you are in the tribunal and we spent all the money, what will happen? If the money was sent there for an illegitimate purpose, you would have spent the money before the panel concludes its sitting, so what stops it?”