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Cash, Petrol Scarcity May Yield Unpleasant Consequences, Ondo Governor Akeredolu Tells Buhari

The petrol crisis and scarcity of Naira notes are resulting in protests in parts of the country.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has advised President Buhari to take urgent steps to address the scarcity of Naira notes and petrol price hike in the country.
The petrol crisis and scarcity of Naira notes are resulting in protests in parts of the country.
In a statement on Friday, Akeredolu said the current situation was a recipe for “unpleasant consequences” if not properly handled.
He said: “The struggles and actual fights recorded in banking halls, ATMs and POS points, and markets across the country are disquieting. The choice of this period for the implementation of a policy, which bears an instant negative impact with no discernible mitigation in sight, raises serious suspicion of partisanship on the part of the CBN.

“The ordinary people are the victims. Depositors can no longer access their monies even to feed their families. Hunger is not the anticipated result of a monetary policy.
“While no reasonable person will contend with the decision of the CBN to discharge its statutory functions, the plight of the downtrodden must, however, be considered. Majority of Nigerians groan, at present, under the crushing weight of these crises.
“There is pervasive discontent in the land and unless some urgent redemptive steps are taken to ameliorate the debilitating effects of seeming desultory and nonchalant disruptions of their normal simple lives, a series of events with unpleasant consequences is inevitable.
“There is palpable anger engendered by frustration in the land. The wave of discontent increases with unbelievable rapidity across the country. The current hardship being experienced by the ordinary people forebodes unpleasant consequences. These crises may set in motion a chain of events, the end of which is better imagined.

“The federal government must make a categorical pronouncement on the availability of petrol and its price since it is the general belief that the country still pays humongous amounts as subsidy. A situation which permits a few individuals to inflict pains on the populace, seemingly without check, is deplorable.
“Emefiele must come clean on the new monetary policy. Nigerians are practically buying the country’s currency to feed when we are not in a state of war.
“The fact that the ruling party hopes to present candidates for election in the general elections in the coming weeks accentuates the level of suspicion as regards the possibility of having certain elements whose interests stand at variance with the general aspirations of the party and its committed members.
“There is no better way to de-market a brand than this ruthless execution of a pernicious motive. The Federal Government, through the President (Muhammadu Buhari), must act now.”

Protests in Warri, Benin, Ibadan

Meanwhile, scores of youths and women barricaded major roads in Warri and environs on Friday protesting fuel hike and the scarcity of Naira notes in the country.
The angry protesters took over the ever-busy Warri-Sapele road in Warri, breaching socio-economic activities along the route.
Another band took over the NPA expressway, by Delta Broadcasting Station, setting fire at the two sections causing traffic gridlock on the busy road.
The protesters accused fuel marketers and various bank managers of being responsible for the current hardship befalling citizens.
The protest, which started at about 10 am, took a concerted effort of soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Effurun to calm and dislodge the protesters, promising to prevail on relevant authorities to address the situation.
The protesters lamented that the Naira notes are being sold in high amounts by bankers and POS operators and fuel is also being hoarded by marketers.
According to the protesters, many families were now dying of hunger due to the scarcity of the Naira notes, as internet banking is being frustrated by bad networks.
In Benin City, Edo State, depositors who could not access their funds in different banks in the city blocked the ever-busy King Square (Ring Road) to traffic in protest.

The protest caused diversion of vehicular traffic to adjourning streets and roads.
The depositors, who are majorly youths, turned down all pleas from a detachment of police and men of the Edo State Traffic Management Agency who were available to control the traffic.
Residents of Ibadan metropolis, in large numbers yesterday, stormed major roads protesting against refusal of commercial banks in the city to dispense new redesigned naira notes through the ATMs and over the counter.
The protest which began peacefully at Agodi-Gate axis turned violent in some parts with the burning of a police station and destruction of public utilities.
When the protesters stormed the Oyo State Secretariat, Agodi, a police officer attached to the Governor’s office was injured during an attack.
The protesters who came with sticks, woods, broken bottles and other dangerous weapons forced the two main gates of the Secretariat open making the security operatives on ground to run for their lives.

However, an unconfirmed report said the police station at Agodi-Gate was set on fire, after a confrontation with officers of Operation Burst.
In most areas, roads were blocked while tyres were set on fire with thick smoke all over the sky.
In some areas, angry protesters resorted to molesting harmless passersby and extorting money from them.
The situation thus forced many banks to hurriedly shut down operations in the city.
There were reports that some banks were attacked by the protesters who were said to have damaged some of the ATMs.
Most major roads in Ibadan were deserted, while people were seen with green leaves trekking long distances.

Armed policemen in their patrol vehicles were stationed along the road to prevent breakdown of law and order.
Areas mostly affected by the protest included Agodi Gate, Idi Ape, Iwo Road, Mokola, Dugbe and Monatan.
In October 2022, Emefiele announced the plan to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, and asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023 when they would cease to be legal tender.