Wild protests over naira scarcity and ban on old notes erupted yesterday in some states with four persons killed in Edo.
Nine of the protesters were arrested in Delta for setting two banks and two vehicles ablaze. Five were also held in Kwara by the Police, according to The Nation report.
The other states where residents also took to the streets and disrupted movements are Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and Akwa Ibom. The Federal Capital Territory(FCT) was also not free as angry depositors took over CBN’s gate, preventing workers and visitors from entering the premises.
However, All Progressives Congress (APC) standard bearer, Asiwaju Tinubu, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Vice Presidential candidate, Ifeanyi Okowa and Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde called on the people to be calm as efforts are on to make cash available to them.
In Benin where the protest was more intense, soldiers drafted to complement police efforts in protecting the state’s CBN branch fired bullets and tear gas canisters to dispel the protesters.
The Nation gathered that the four victims of the Edo protest were hit by bullets fired by the security agents.
Some of the protesters said the bodies of three of the victims were hurriedly evacuated by the operatives.
One of them added that they prevented the security agents from also taking away the fourth by pelting their vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), with stones.
The protesters made bonfires on the major roads, thereby creating gridlock on alternative routes in the city.
In the ensuing confusion banks, schools, offices, markets, petrol stations and malls hurriedly closed for the day.
The government blamed the protests in the state on the former APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
It claimed in a statement by the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, that the protests were targeted at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-controlled states.
The government, therefore, called on security agencies to cause Oshiomhole to account for his movements in Benin in the last few days.
“Today (yesterday), we had the unfortunate incident of the protest in Edo State, particularly in Benin, as a result of the new naira redesigning policy. We have gone round the town and we have discovered that there is more than meets the eye. We are calling on all security agencies to call on Comrade Oshiomhole for questioning, arrest him and make him account for his movements in the last couple of days in Benin,” the commissioner said.
No casualty was recorded in Ibadan but some protesters caused serious panic among workers when they stormed the Oyo State secretariat in Agodi carrying ‘ebo’ (sacrificial objects) in a calabash.
The protest led by transporters and fruit sellers came less than two weeks after a similar one in the city.
The worst hit areas were Eleyele, Ojoo, Challenge Beere and Oje where banks were shut and movements halted by the protesters who also made bonfires on the highways.
At Bodija Market, a protester told The Nation that he was angry that banks which are not “releasing money to customers had also started rejecting old notes.”
“We can’t continue like this now. This situation has become so bad. The government does not care about what we are going through. That’s why we have to let them know that we are suffering.,” he added.
A transporter also said they embarked on the protest over the unavailability of cash and the rejection of old notes by banks and fuel stations.
– The Nation