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Fuel/naira crises: Protesters vandalise banks in Ogun; APC cancels rally in Ondo

Commercial banks Wednesday closed their operations barely 24 hours after a violent protest by youths who disrupted activities and vandalised some banks in Abeokuta, Ogun…

Commercial banks Wednesday closed their operations barely 24 hours after a violent protest by youths who disrupted activities and vandalised some banks in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Daily Trust had reported how Abeokuta was thrown into chaos as youths and customers blocked some roads, set burnfires and destroyed political billboards in protest against the new naira notes scarcity.

The protest, which began at the GTBank, Asero, escalated to other parts of the metropolis like Sapon, Omida, Ibara and Oke-Ilewo.

The youths also vandalised the First Bank at Sapon, while other banks hurriedly shut operations and released their workers to avoid attacks.

Meanwhile, Governor Dapo Abiodun yesterday visited a man hit by a stray bullet when youths protested in Abeokuta on Tuesday over cash scarcity.

Abiodun was at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, where the man is being treated.

Speaking to newsmen after, the governor noted that violence was not the best way to address the issue of scarcity of cash and fuel in the country.

He pleaded with the youths to exercise patience, saying that breaking of banks and destroying ATMs would not solve any problem.

Meanwhile, protest continued in Akure, Ondo State capital yesterday as some youths blocked major federal roads over the lingering nationwide fuel scarcity and the shortage of the newly redesigned naira notes.  

The youths blocked the popular Ilesha-Ibadan Highway and the Benin-Owo road, thereby causing traffic and preventing vehicular movement for several hours.  Motorists plying the route were forced to use alternative roads around the axis. 

The protest led by some civil society organisations and the National Association of Nigerians (NANS) also paralysed business and commercial activities as many traders and shop owners hurriedly closed. 

The situation also forced many banks and financial institutions in the state capital to shut their doors against customers. 

A protester, Omotayo Samuel, said “We are not happy. We are now buying naira. Government should reverse these policies because many people are suffering,” he added.  

Following the situation, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state suspended its rallies in all the local government areas ahead of the February 25 and March 11 elections.  

Ade Adetimehin, the party state chairman, who announced this in a statement issued by Alex Kalejaiye, the spokesman of the party, said the decision to suspend the campaigns was to solidarise with the residents of the state over the current financial and fuel crisis in the country. 

“The party has therefore directed party chairmen, and Directors-General at all levels, within the chapter, to suspend rallies, in sympathy with our people,” he announced.  

The party called on chieftains and members of the party to show more understanding, and identify with those in their various localities to ease tension.


From Tosin Tope (Akure) & From Peter Moses (Abeokuta)

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