In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 08th, October, 2020

Magistrates Lack Energy to Freeze Financial institution Accounts

Magistrates Lack Power to Freeze Bank Accounts


Court docket



An Abuja Federal Excessive Court docket has dominated that Justice of the Peace courts lacked the ability to difficulty an order freezing financial institution accounts.


Based on Punch, the courtroom additionally ordered banks to desist from appearing on “bankers order” served on them, significantly by the police, to freeze or place a post-no-debit order accounts on private accounts.


Justice Inyang Ekwo made the declaration in a judgment in a swimsuit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1635/2019 on Tuesday.


The swimsuit was instituted by 5 youngsters of the late Chief E. A. Esiso in opposition to one in all their siblings, Yoma Esiso, 4 banks which had frozen their financial institution accounts, the Inspector-Basic of Police and the Commissioner of Police answerable for the IGP Monitoring Unit.


The 5 siblings who have been the plaintiffs who instituted the swimsuit are Mrs Eunice Oddiri, Magnificence Ogbodu, Chief Sunny Esiso, Edirin Esiso, and Mrs Emuobosa Consin.


They acknowledged of their swimsuit that in September 2019 one of many landed property of their late father in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was bought and the proceeds have been shared among the many deceased’s youngsters, together with Yoma.


Yoma was mentioned to have petitioned the police after which his 5 siblings have been arrested and detained.


The plaintiffs have been later launched on bail however realised that their accounts had been frozen by their numerous banks which claimed to have acquired letters authorising them to so do from the workplace of the Inspector Basic of Police and the Commissioner of the Police answerable for the IGP Monitoring Unit.

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The banks mentioned the letters from the IGP workplace have been accompanied with a doc known as a Bankers Order from a magistrates’ courtroom, ordering the freezing/publish no debit on the accounts.


The plaintiffs on December 24, 2019 sued their banks – Zenith Financial institution Plc, Stanbic IBTC Financial institution, Assure Belief Financial institution and First Financial institution Place – together with the IGP, the IGP Monitoring Unit, and Yoma.


They contend amongst others of their swimsuit that that the order to freeze/post-no-debit obtained from the Justice of the Peace’s courtroom and positioned on their accounts on the energy of a non-existent legislation was unlawful null and void.


Solely GTB filed processes in response to the swimsuit, whereas the remainder of the defendants didn’t.


However in his judgment, Justice Ekwo dominated that GTB didn’t successfully controvert the case of the plaintiffs as he held that there was no present Nigerian legislation or related international legislation empowering magistrates to make such an order for freezing of individuals’ accounts.


He due to this fact declared that “the Bankers Order/Order freezing and/or enabling the post-no-debit” on the listed accounts of the plaintiffs “can’t be validly issued pursuant to a non-existent/repealed Bankers Order Act 1847 and another irrelevant international legislation”.


The choose additionally dominated that “a Justice of the Peace lacks the powers to make Bankers orders and/or order freezing or enabling a publish no debit on financial institution accounts pursuant to non-existent/repealed part 7 of the Banker‘s Order Act 1847.”


The choose due to this fact ordered the 4 banks “to unfreeze the accounts of the plaintiffs and desist from additional giving impact to the non-existent Bankers order served on the prompting of the fifth and sixth defendants (IGP and the IGP Monitoring Unit).”


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