Protests have taken place in parts of Edo, Delta, Oyo among other states across Nigeria over the rejection of the old naira notes by commercial banks nationwide, in line with the position of the Central Bank of Nigeria, resulting in scarcity of the naira notes as well as attendant suffering in the country.
Residents in various parts of the country have hit the streets blocking major roads with bonfires, destroying automated teller machines (ATMs) and setting banks ablaze. Several businesses and commercial banks have been forced to shut down as a result of the occurring violence.
On Wednesday at least four people, including a nursing mother, were killed in violent protests across the country. Many protesters have also been injured.
Residents of areas within the Ibadan metropolis, the Oyo State capital in the early hours of Wednesday, trooped out to protest the scarcity of new naira notes thereby grounding vehicular and commercial activities.
Some of the areas affected by the protest include Eleiyele, Oke-Ado, Molete, Sango
Ologuneru, Sango Polytechnic road, Mokola roundabout, Academy, Iwo road, Dugbe and other parts of the city.
It was learnt that the protesters first converged at Eleyele junction, in Ibadan North West local government area blocking the ever-busy Eleyele-Ologuneru-Eruwa road causing gridlock around Eleyele, Ijokodo, Sango-Poly road.
While shop owners were forced to close motorists had to turn back to seek alternative routes while school children hurriedly return home for fear of being attacked and parents of those already in school called to pick their wards.
To forestall break down of law and order, detachments of security operatives including the Army were deployed to the affected areas to maintain peace with policemen and soldiers strategically positioned and removing the barriers put on the roads.
One of the protesters, a tricycle operator while speaking on a radio station, lamented that the hardship over the scarcity of the new naira notes, was becoming unbearable for the masses with petrol stations and banks refusing to accept the old naira notes.
It would be recalled that a similar protest rocked the city on Friday, February 3, where some hoodlums within the popular Araromi spare parts market, Gate, took advantage of the protest and set ablaze a police station, stole the station’s Plasma TV, vandalised a branch of WEMA Bank in the area and looted some roadside shops.
In Benin city, the Edo state capital, protesters barricaded the gate of the CBN, in an attack foiled by a combined team’ of officers from the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Recall that the CBN had fixed February 10 as the new deadline for the swap of the old naira notes for new notes and the Supreme Court of Nigeria had on Wednesday adjourned the suit filed by Governors challenging the new naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to February 22.
Eloho Otugo, Kemi Olaitan