Cash Crunch: Violence Erupts, Spreads Across States, Three Killed, Banks Burnt
By Alabidun Alabidun
Protests erupted in Edo and Delta states over the scarcity of Naira notes, with bank branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) being attacked by angry customers.
The violence claimed three lives and many others were injured during the riot.
The protests spread to Oyo, Ondo, Benue and Kwara states, which also led to unrest among residents over the cash crisis.
In Edo, the trouble began after the bank customers besieged the state branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lodge their old naira notes. While the people were calm as they waited at the gate for the officials to attend to them, they stopped a Hilux van carrying some officials that attempted to enter the premises, believing that it was there to convey new naira notes.
The police guarding the office appealed to the people to allow the vehicle to access the premises but they were adamant and attempted to invade the premises.
The bank customers threw stones and sticks at the vehicle, and the police mistakenly shot a male customer dead, further inflaming the protesters.
This led to an all-out offensive from the protesters who attacked nearly all the banks along the Akpapakva Road, throwing stones at anything in sight.
Soldiers and policemen were dispatched to the crisis zones to restore peace and order in the metropolis, and the custodial centre to prevent a jailbreak.
In Warri, Delta State, youths protesting the rejection of the old naira notes razed several vehicles parked in front of banks.
They became uncontrollable and set fire to vehicles parked in front of the banks.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, protesters started barricading the major roads to protest the naira and fuel crises in the state.
They also blocked the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, grounding vehicular movements and commercial activities.
The protests had previously been hijacked by suspected miscreants who set ablaze a police station and stole the station’s plasma television set.