Home / Community News / Cash Crunch: 3 Killed As Protests Erupt In 8 States, FCT
Cash Crunch: 3 Killed As Protests Erupt In 8 States, FCT

Cash Crunch: 3 Killed As Protests Erupt In 8 States, FCT

The ongoing scarcity of the Naira notes took a dangerous dimension yesterday morning as no fewer than three persons lost their lives following violent protests that erupted in parts of Nigeria.

In Benin City, the Edo State capital, angry residents, who could not access their monies in commercial banks, took to the streets in protests that led to loss of lives after security forces fired live bullets and teargas to disperse the unruly crowds.

The body of one of the protesters was deposited in front of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) amid sporadic gunfire and teargas from policemen and soldiers.

The protesters had attempted to break into the state branch of the CBN located along Akpakpava Street, a commercial nerve centre in Benin City, where most commercial banks are also located. Thereafter, they attacked some commercial banks located in the area.

At the time of filing this report, no fewer than seven banks were attacked by the angry, surging crowds which equally set bonfires along the major road of Akpakpava and other adjoining  streets. The angry protesters also unleashed their anger and frustration on any Automated Teller Machines, ATM, at sight.

Some of the commercial banks affected include United Bank for Africa (UBA), Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Zenith Bank, First Bank  and Stanbic Bank, all located along Akpakpava street which were also set ablaze.

Shop owners along the area immediately shut their businesses and fled. It took the intervention of heavily armed combined security personnel of the men of the Nigeria Police and the military to disperse the protesters as they cleared the road of burnt tyres to allow other road users to pass.

Along Akpakpava, one of the protesters said, “How do you expect people to survive? People have money in banks and they cannot access it because of one useless policy. People don’t accept old naira anymore and we don’t have new naira, we don’t have food in our house, we are tired.

Another protester said, “They are doing this to cancel the coming elections. We cannot continue like this; the country belongs to all of us. Why are they making us suffer for no fault of ours?”

The Edo State Police Public Relation Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, when contacted, confirmed the incident but said he was yet to be briefed by his men on the field before speaking authoritatively on the protest.

Edo Govt, Oshiomhole Trade Blame Over Violent Protest

Edo State Government yesterday called for the immediate arrest of former governor Adams Oshiomhole, accusing him of masterminding the protest that rocked parts of Benin City over the scarcity of naira notes.

But a media aide to the former governor, Victor Oshioke, has absolved his principal of instigating any protest, adding that Oshiomhole was busy campaigning for his presidential candidate and for his senatorial ambition.

The Edo State commissioner for communication and orientation, Chris Nehikhare, at a press conference in Benin, hinged the allegation on a recent viral video where he claimed the former governor instructed his supporters to go town and unleash mayhem on perceived political opponents in the forthcoming general elections.

Nehikhare said investigation carried among the protesters showed that beyond the lack of naira notes, Oshiomhole had allegedly instigated the protest knowing that his party would lose the forthcoming general elections.

He said, “We have been around the city all day speaking to protesters and have done thorough investigations and discovered that there is more than meets the eye. I would like to call on the security agencies to call the former Governor Adams Oshiomhole for questions.

 “He should be arrested and made to account for his movement in the last few days. Oshiomhole deliberately instigated the protest and I am sure you are all aware that a few days ago, a video showed Oshiomhole instigating people in Benin City to go on rampage and bring anarchy to our state because his government and his party, APC, are about to lose the forthcoming election.”

The commissioner further pointed out that even if the reason was the scarcity of the naira, it was a policy of the APC,  the same party that is now destroying PDP billboards in Edo State. “While they said they were protesting against the naira policy, a gantry that is over 50 feet high was destroyed by APC supporters. PDP Is not the government that is responsible for the policy;  those responsible is the APC and it is clear that this is politically motivated and we are pointing fingers directly at Adams Oshiomhole as a result of what he said of unleashing his ‘lions and tigers’ to go completely against the laws of the land because he wants to desperately be part of the next government,” he said.

But Oshiomhole’s spokesman said, “Oshiomhole is busy campaigning for the APC presidential candidate and his senatorial ticket and did not instigate anybody to riot. Oshiomhole didn’t make any statement to suggest that anybody should riot against anybody.

 “He has no time to call for violence because the people love him. The Edo State government is rattled and nervous by the acceptance Oshiomhole gets anywhere he goes to in Edo state.” There was also protest by some Abuja residents. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will make a national broadcast today by 7am.

This is contained in a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina. “Television, radio stations and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority and Radio Nigeria for the broadcast,” he said. LEADERSHIP gathered that the broadcast may be connected to the naira crisis in the country which had seen violence erupted in some states.

Supreme Court Retains Order Suspending Naira Swap

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has said its February 8 order stopping the federal government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the use of old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes still stands..

The apex court reiterated its order following a complaint by lawyer to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), that the federal government and its agencies have failed to comply with the order and have allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.

During the proceedings, the apex court joined nine more states as parties in the suit challenging legality of the naira swap policy of the federal government.

In its ruling by a seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, the apex court joined the attorneys-general of Katsina, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Ekiti, Cross River and Sokoto States as co-plaintiffs, while the attorneys-general of Edo and Bayelsa states were joined as co-respondents.

The court has, however, fixed the hearing of the case on February 22. The court ordered the original plaintiffs and the respondent, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, to amend the processes already filed to reflect the new parties.

However, both Rivers and Kano states told the court that their own case was different, insisting that they raised recondite issues of law that were not part of what the original plaintiffs submitted for determination.

Specifically, the two states maintained that aside from the issue of the old banknotes, they have a grouse with the N5million and N100, 000 cash withdrawal limits the CBN okayed for corporate entities and individuals, respectively.

Owing to the fresh twist in the case, a seven-man panel of justices of the court ordered Kogi, Kaduna and Zamfara states to amend their initial originating summons to reflect the new states it joined as interested parties in the matter.

The panel headed by Justice Inyang Okoro equally directed the plaintiffs to ensure that they file and serve all the respondents with the relevant processes before Friday, even as it adjourned further proceedings in the matter till Wednesday next week. The apex court said it would consolidate all the cases, stressing that all the states would abide by its decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, before the matter was adjourned, counsel for the three northern states that initiated the litigation, Mr. AbdulHakeem Mustapha, SAN, drew attention of the apex court to the fact that its ex-parte order that restrained the federal government from implementing the February 10 deadline for the use of the old banknotes was flouted.

Mustapha told the court that contrary to the order, CBN had since invalidated the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.He, therefore, pleaded the apex court to reinstate the interim order, saying he had also filed a process to reflect FG’s disobedience to the court order. Reacting on behalf of the federal government,  a former AGF, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, told the apex court that Mustapha’s claim was within the realm of “mere rumour”.

CBN Issues Guidelines For Depositing Old Notes

Also yesterday, the CBN opened the portal for individuals who have old notes to deposit to fill up forms despite the Supreme Court adjourning the case on the legality of the February 10, 2023 deadline for the old notes to remain legal tender.

On the portal which is open on cbn.gov.ng, depositors are required to fill in their Bank Verification Number (BVN), phone number, email address, bank details, address, the amount to be deposited as well as the denominations to be deposited, after which a reference number is generated.

A guideline on the depositing of the N200, N500 and N1,000 old notes commenced yesterday and is expected to run till Friday February 17. To deposit their old notes at the CBN branches, customers would be required to have a completed online application form, copy of valid means of identification and a completed teller. Once the account is verified, the equivalent of the cash would then be deposited in the customers account.

 “The CBN branches do not open accounts for individuals. As such, individuals who wish to deposit their old, redesigned notes must have an active account with a Deposit Money Bank (Commercial Bank). Individuals who wish to deposit their old, redesigned notes are required to be orderly and comply with the instructions of the security personnel and other staff when in the Bank’s premises.  if validation turns out negative, the Bank will return the unvalidated old, redesigned notes in the form deposited,” the guideline read. Meanwhile, the rejection of the old notes by traders began to spread to the rural areas as news of continued banks’ rejection of the old notes spread.

In Ota area of Ogun state, old naira notes are being rejected. Also, many filling stations were not dispensing fuel while those dispensing accepted only the new naira notes with a strict no transfer, no POS policy.

Traders in the popular market in Ota are rejecting old notes as traders who are basically rural dwellers have no account number, hence, making it difficult for people to transact business in the environs.In some parts of Lagos, the old notes is still being used as means of exchange as a food seller at Ikeja market said: “I am still collecting old notes, otherwise, I will go hungry. All the money they brought to buy food are old notes, so, what can I do?

Another trader who lamented that the new notes are not in circulation said:  “the government should not cause riots in the country. There are no new notes and you are telling people not to collect old notes again. Do you think people will come out and vote during the election on an empty stomach? I am still collecting it and I will take it to the bank afterward. If the bank refuses to collect ,I will report them to the Nigerian police who will take appropriate action.”

Findings of LEADERSHIP also revealed that the old naira notes are no longer accepted by business owners in Ojota Axis in Lagos state.

For instance, a provision seller popularly known as Mama Chichi told LEADERSHIP that banks no longer collect the old notes, adding that she struggled to spend all her old notes on Monday. “Banks are no longer collecting the old notes. I had to look for ways to spend all my old notes on Monday”, she stated. Also, filling stations around Ogudu-Ojota road stopped collecting the old notes on Monday, the 13th of February, 2023.

 “It is either you transfer or use the new notes to buy fuel at MRS and Total. I queued for hours, only to be told that they wouldn’t accept the old notes. It is really pathetic,” a keke driver, Mr Musa Ahmed, lamented.

A POS operator, Johnson said he gets cash from transporters as well as market women. “I don’t collect more than N50,000 from anyone as we are not sure of what will happen and I dispense the old notes as soon as I get them. There is no new note in circulation so how are people expected to go about their lives?

 “When someone brings old notes to me, I sign an agreement with them that if no one collects it from me, the money will be returned. But people still collect the old notes when I tell them that there are no new notes”, he stated.

A resident of Ikorodu area of Lagos, Dr Innocent Ogbonna, said “I am in house prison now, no money to buy fuel for my car, no money to fuel my generator,  money to move around in a public bus. What type of policy is this?”

Pastor (Mrs) Ebunoluwa Adeobaniyi in Ketu area of Lagos told LEADERSHIP “we are not finding it easy here in and around Ketu. Commercial activities have been grounded because people with old notes cannot spend it as there are no new ones. And now we are hearing that the Supreme Court has shifted it to ‪February 22, no new notes and old notes are no longer legal tender by most people. Business activities have been paralysed.”

Another resident of Ketu lamented that, “a hungry man is an angry man. How could CBN cajoled us to push all our old Naira notes into bank accounts and now failed to release or replace the same old new Naira notes with new notes. This is not a laughing or joking time.”

According to him, he had combed all banks within Ojodu Berger in search of where he could see people on queue for money but found none. “As a family man, I have just N1, 000 in my pocket while my money has been inside my bank account, what should I do now.”

A survey of markets and motor parks around Lagos showed that  informal business transactions were still being consummated using the old and new notes together Many operators of commercial busses in Lagos, particularly in the hinter parts of the state have started rejecting the old notes as at yesterday’s evening, while banking agents traded cautiously on the old notes.

The Lagos State bus service (LAGBUS), which uses the cowry card, had also stopped collecting the old notes like most established businesses. However, in few markets, traders were seen using the old and the new notes together, especially with unavailability of the new notes.

Moreover, prior to the Supreme Court Judgement on the Naira redesign policy of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shifting ruling to February 22 this year, management of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) yesterday morning insisted that passengers should pay for tickets with new Naira notes, thus, leading to protests that forced management to revert the decision.

Many passengers who had the old naira notes were stranded alongside few that purchased tickets with new notes just as the train was delayed at Kajola in Ogun state for over two and half hours for fear of attack by passengers with old notes before the reprieve came from management.

LEADERSHIP findings shows that after receiving feedback on the possible consequences of the decision on tickets sales and violent reaction of stranded passengers with old naira notes, the management quickly directed the ticketing staff at railway train stations at Kajola, Ijoko, Agbado, Agege and Oshodi to sell tickets to passengers with old naira after about two hours delay from the normal 6.00 departure time from Kajola.

Train Passengers Stranded As NRC Insists On New Naira Notes

Prior to the Supreme Court Judgement on the Naira redesign policy of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shifting ruling to February 22 this year, management of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) yesterday morning insisted that passengers should pay for tickets with new Naira notes, thus, leading to protests that forced management to revert the decision.

Many passengers who had the old naira notes were stranded alongside few that purchased tickets with new notes just as the train was delayed at Kajola in Ogun state for over two and half hours for fear of attack by passengers with old notes before the reprieve came from management.

LEADERSHIP findings shows that after receiving feedback on the possible consequences of the decision on tickets sales and violent reaction of stranded passengers with old naira notes, the management quickly directed the ticketing staff at railway train stations at Kajola, Ijoko, Agbado, Agege and Oshodi to sell tickets to passengers with old naira after about two hours delay from the normal 6.00 departure time from Kajola.

However, passengers who relied on the train for early travel to their various places of work had no option than to look for an alternative mode. One of the passengers John Paul, a trader at Yaba said, the decision of management of the corporation to introduce collection of tickets with new naira notes was impromptu, ill timed and embarrassing.

The managing director, First Fit Nigeria Limited, Mr. Eric Umezurike, said, a federal government agency like Nigerian Railway Corporation is in a better position to collect old naira notes and exchange them seamlessly with a sister agency like Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).

According to him, if a government agency is rejecting old notes at a period when the case is still pending in court, what would be the expectations from market women supermarkets and petrol attendants. The Lagos district manager of the corporation, Engr. Augustine Arase, did not reply to a text message sent to him on this development as at the time of filing this report.

Customers Vandalise Banks, ATMs, Cars ln Delta

Protest over the scarcity of the new naira notes and rejection of the old notes in Delta state has sparked serious protests in Udu, Effurun and some parts of Warri in Delta State.

It was gathered that at least three commercial banks including Union Bank, Access and Diamond Banks were touched by angry protesters, especially in the Udu area of the state. No fewer than four vehicles have also been razed by the protesters in and around the Udu express junction and Ovwian area of Udu.

The protesters also barricaded the popular Udu Express Junction and Orhuwhorun Roundabout in Udu to prevent vehicle movement in the area. There were heavy gunfire by soldiers and policemen drafted to protect several banks in Udu, Effurun and Warri.

Sources told our correspondent that the bank customers took to protest after the banks refused to issue the new naira notes to those who had besieged the banks for cash. Checks by our correspondent observed that the various Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Udu, Effurun and Warri were not dispensing cash prior to the protest.

The protesters yesterday took to the streets to shut activities in all the banks in the city, as shops and offices around the troubled areas also closed shop as a result of the apprehension. Shop owners, filling stations and transporters have also stopped collecting the old naira notes from customers.However, at the time of filing the report, no fatality had been recorded from the protest

Meanwhile, the governor of Delta State and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has appealed to citizens of the state and Nigerians to remain calm amidst scarcity of the new naira notes in the country.

The governor’s appeal is coming on the heels of protests by some citizens of the state at Orhuwhorun Community in Udu Local Government Area of the state where a bank’s ATM gallery was reportedly torched. Okowa’s appeal was contained in a statement by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu in Asaba, the state capital.

The governor also called on the federal government and the monetary authorities to ensure full penetration of banking services to the rural communities and urged private businesses to embrace the cashless policy irrespective of the hiccups presently experienced in order to reduce the sufferings of the masses.

Banks Close Shop In Eklti

Some commercial banks in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital, yesterday shut their offices to customers following scarcity of naira notes. Others that opened their offices were only offering skeletal services with customers getting less than N4,000 through over-the-counter payment. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) disbursement went along with over-the-counter payments with customers being paid less than N6,000 by the machines.

A check by our correspondent at an old generation bank along the popular bank road showed that the bank premises were open to the customers. Some customers were, however, seen lurking around the banks’ ATMs with the expectation that they would be loaded with the Naira notes

An official of the bank who doesn’t want his name in the print said, ” We decided not to open our office because of the fear of being attacked by angry customers as it is the case in some other states. We don’t have sufficient Naira notes while our network is down at the moment”.

At another new generation bank in the area, only N3,000 is being paid to customers across the counter but the ATMs were not working. While some of the banks ensured that their ATMs dispense money to customers intermittently, others were not offering any services and their ATMs were not working. Meanwhile, most Point-of-Sale (POS) outlets in the state are charging between N200 and N300 in exchange for a new N1,000 note.

A PoS operator, who confirmed the development to the LEADERSHIP in Ado Ekiti, said,” Initially we did that for between N100 and N150 but now, it is between N200 and N300. It increased because we also pay some money to get the new Naira notes.”

Protesters Turn Back Motorists In Kwara, Ploice Arrest 5

Some aggrieved residents of Ilorin, Kwara State, took to the streets, protesting the scarcity of new naira notes. The protests, largely coordinated by touts, led to disruption of vehicular movements and business activities in almost every part of the state capital.

The hoodlums, who set used tyres on fire on major roads, also positioned themselves at strategic locations, turning vehicles owners back and directing them to return to their houses. However, the state police command said five suspects have been arrested in connection with the public disturbance in the state capital.

The spokesman of the police in the state, Okasanmi Ajayi said the suspects would be charged to court. Some of the protesters, who spoke in chorus, lamented their inability to feed themselves and their families due to lack of funds, occasioned by the federal government’s naira swap policy. “It’s better for all of us to stay at home so that the government can do something urgent about the scarcity of the new naira notes.,” they chorused. The protests were pronounced at the old Ilorin- Jebba road- Sango – Oyun axis, Oko- Olowo, Oloje, Pakata- Ipata- Oloje, Ogidi, Okelele and Airport Road, all in Ilorin, the state capital.

Meanwhile, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, have called for calm. The governor and the Emir, in separate statements, sympathised with the people over the current hardship they were experiencing.

The governor, in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, sympathised with the people of the state on the continuous scarcity of the naira as a result of the CBN’s recent currency redesign policy. He appealed to the people of the state to remain calm and peaceful, and not give in to any frustrations over the naira scarcity.

The Emir, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Shettima AbdulAziz Arowona, said:”Dear Kwarans,  I have said it on several occasions that the Ilorin Emirate is known for peace. Kwara State is known for harmony, let’s resist all forms of temptations. Governments at all levels are working assiduously towards ensuring that the hardship is curtailed. I am deeply touched and worried about the current situation. It calls for calm and perseverance. Please let’s remain peaceful and together we shall overcome this hard time”.

Scores Injured As Police, Troops Disperse Protesting Customers In Uyo

There was outrage in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, as dozens of customers who besieged the Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo area of the CBN to deposit their old notes were injured in a stampede, following several canisters of teargas thrown by the anti-riot policemen to disperse the surging crowd,  our correspondent learnt yesterday.

Besides, troops and police operatives averted attacks by angry customers and prevented them from torching the Aka Road branch of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) after forcefully pulling down the Nigerian and UBA flags, with officials said to have escaped through the backdoor to call in the security agents.

 “The customers had already filled up the banking halls and officials had a hectic time attending to them, while dozens outside struggled to enter. At that point, the officials were overwhelmed and had to escape through the backdoor to call the security agencies, who came, threw teargas canisters, and shot sporadically in the air, causing a stampede with scores injured,” Inyang Inyang, an eye witness, said.

Apparently anticipating deadline extension given the intervention by the Supreme Court to no avail, it was gathered that angry customers trooped to the apex bank to drop their old notes following directive to that effect, but the process, according to some them, appeared highly tedious, forcing protest which led to the intervention by the police operatives.

 “We heard the CBN would be our last resort after commercial banks have refused to accept the old currency denominations from us. But we were shocked this morning (yesterday) upon arriving at the Udo Udoma office of the CBN to discover that we couldn’t do the transaction.”  Emmanuel Inokotong, one of the distraught customers, lamented.

 “How can you ask the whole population of about 7.2 million to converge in one bank to deposit their old notes?It’s wrong because it appears the Federal Government is deliberately setting Nigerians up to revolt against the state.” Effiong Udofia, a civil servant, who explained that he shunned going to work to keep vigil at the bank, noted.

Checks by LEADERSHIP revealed that the streets were virtually empty as scanty vehicles, mostly government officials, political parties on campaigns, few commercial buses and tricycles plied the streets with fares raised by over 200 percent for only commuters with the new notes.

Efforts to speak with the state CBN branch Controller, Mrs. Ogbomon – Pius Itohan, were abortive, but a senior official of the apex bank explained that security agents were called in to quell the anticipated violence, wondering why the customers could not comply by depositing their cash in time after weeks of sensitization programmes across the country.

Benue Youths Block Otukpo Federal Highway

In Benue State, angry youths took to the Federal Highway, Otukpo, along Enugu roundabout to protest the scarcity of new Naira notes and rejection of old notes. Otukpo, which is the trado-political seat of Idoma land known as Benue South senatorial district of the state, was on a standstill.

The youths, according to an eye witness, barricaded the major highway which disrupted vehicular movement for hours. It was gathered that several passengers and motorists were left stranded as youths made a bonfire with tyres on the highway.

It was also observed that traders às well as banks were rejecting the old Naira notes and the new Naira  notes are not in circulation in Benue. Some of the customers who spoke to our Correspondent on phone expressed disappointment in a situation where banks are also rejecting the old currency alongside traders.

 “I have a few old Naira notes and I went to a fuel station to buy fuel but was told by the pump attendant that they are not collecting old notes again. They were not connecting old notes,  and were not allowing transfer and as well not using POS,” one customer said. A police source, who confirmed the incident on condition of anonymity, said the protest was peaceful, as no destruction was recorded and no life was lost.

Aggrieved Residents Storm CBN Office In Akure

Residents of Akure on Tuesday stormed the CBN office in Akure, the Ondo state capital, following the refusal of some commercial banks to swap the old naira notes for the newly redesigned currencies.

It was gathered that the customers, who included Okada riders, traders, workers, and other residents, besieged the CBN office at Alagbaka, Akure, to change their old notes to new ones, and to register their displeasure with the activities of commercial banks who refused to collect old notes but dispensing same old naira on their ATMs. When LEADERSHIP visited the CBN office,  it was observed that the management had placed a notice indicating that commercial banks should stop rejecting the old notes.

A customer said, “Commercial banks in Akure and other parts of Ondo State dispensing old naira notes at ATMs but refuse to accept them as deposits.” The customer, Oye Emmanuel, said “I just collected an old N1,000 note from First Bank Alagbaka and they refused to collect old notes on the counter.”

Makinde Calls For Calm

BY ADEBAYO WAHEED, Ibadan Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, has again called on residents of the state to demonstrate restraint over the hardship occasioned by the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), noting that violence would not solve the current problem. This is just as security commanders in the state have declared that they would be firm against hoodlums who might try to hijack the peaceful protests by Oyo State residents over the ongoing scarcity of new Naira notes. The governor spoke while addressing residents of the state in Igbojaye, Itesiwaju Local Government, where he was concluding a three-day stretch of campaigning in the four local governments in Iseyin Federal Constituency, while the security commanders spoke in Ibadan, after an on-the-spot assessment of the situation in the state capital yesterday.. The governor appealed to residents of the state.

Hits: 0

About newsfrontonline

Scroll To Top