Naira scarcity protest hits Abeokuta as angry youths block roads

Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, has been thrown into chaos as angry youths blocked some roads, set bonfire and destroyed political billboards in protest against new notes scarcity.Our correspondent reports that the protest followed the growing hardship created by the naira and fuel crisis in the country.

The protest which is taking place at Asero-Moore Junction-Abiola way, Sapon and Ibara, paralyzed commercial activities in the areas, forcing some banks in Oke -Ilewo axis to “release their workers to avert impending attacks from angry customers.”

Some security operatives were caught up in the demonstration in front of the GTbank branch at Asero.“I am presently at Sapon. They blocked roads and set burn-fire. We had to hide somewhere because some of them are shooting guns.

We can identify those shooting guns, but I suspect it be exchange of guns between the police and those cult boys,” a witness told Daily Trust.Our correspondent reports some of the protesters from Ibara under bridge were advancing towards Oke-Ilewo where majority of commercials banks are located, before security operatives intervened and dispersed them.

Commercial banks and schools in the metropolis have closed due to the confusion created by the protest.On Monday, Governor Dapo Abiodun stormed the state’s branch of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Abeokuta and engaged the officials over growing hardship created by the new notes scarcity.

Abiodun flanked by the Speaker of House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo and other government officials stated paid an unscheduled visit to the Abeokuta branch of CBN.

The governor also met with Bankers Forum, made up of managers of commercial banks in the state.Abiodun directed the state branch of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and management of commercial banks operating in the state to make cash available to residents of the state.This, the governor said who relieve residents of the hardships they face at banks waiting to withdraw money.

Abiodun also offered to lead members of his cabinet to monitor cash distribution to banks to ensure that no commercial bank or their agents hoard the new naira notes in the state.

According to the governor, it is disappointing to see long queues of residents at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), waiting to cash money from the system with so much stress and some not getting enough to meet their immediate needs.

He added that it is humiliating that those who were attended to were paid not more than two thousand naira per transaction.Abiodun, however, urged the CBN to ensure the availability of new notes at commercial banks for people to withdraw their money.

The governor explained that he was compelled to visit the state branch of the CBN as the “landlord to find out how we can collaborate to ensure that success of the CBN policy on the new notes and currency swap”.

“I’ve met with the President and CBN governor. It is within the right of the CBN by law and as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Our people went out in their numbers but our people who deposited money and felt they would have as much money as they had deposited or need for their daily needs and welfare and wellbeing.

“We’ve had to suspend our campaigns. I met with people over the weekend who said to me that they have not eaten for days, especially, those from the informal sector.

“As a governor, whose primary function is the welfare and security of our people, I need to find out how we can interact with you to see how we can improve on the current level of distribution of the currency in order to diffuse tension”, Abiodun submitted.

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