Residents of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, have taken to the streets to protest the lingering petrol and naira notes scarcity in the country.
In October 2022, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced the plan to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, and asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023 when they would cease to be legal tender.
Although the deadline has been shifted to February 10, many Nigerians have found it difficult to obtain the new naira notes.
TheCable reports that, amid the currency crisis, there has been a steady increase in the price of premium motor spirit (PMS) which has caused long queues at filling stations across the nation.
In an interview, a resident of Ibadan, Ahmed Hamzat, said the protesters started a bonfire near the Oyo government house before they were dispersed by police officers.
He said the activities of the protesters resulted in traffic congestion in the capital city.
“The protest started at the Agodi gate, at the intersection that leads to the state secretariat and the government house.
“The protesters started a fire near the secretariat and around the spare parts market but they were quickly dispersed by security personnel (Operation Burst) from the secretariat,” he said.
“But the protesters didn’t leave the market. They continued bonfires and this situation has now caused vehicular obstruction around those areas, even leading to Iwo road, the protest is hot. The people are tired of the long queues at banks and at petrol stations.”
Another witness, who identified himself as Pelumi, said “there is trouble” in Ibadan, as “protesters have started burning tyres in different areas of the state”.
He told TheCable that officials of Amotekun, the south-west security outfit, are “trying to disperse the protesters”.
“There is trouble in Ibadan right now. I’m at Beere area presently, they have been burning tyres everywhere, from Beere’s bus stop to Adekile, Labiran, everywhere, the protesters are burning tyres,” he added.
Tayo Lawal, another resident, told TheCable that operators of point-of-sale (POS) terminals are also being attacked in some parts of the state over the exorbitant fees they charge for transactions.
“The protest is about the fuel scarcity and naira,” Lawal said.
“It started around the spare parts market in Agodi-gate and has spread to other areas.
“POS operators are also being attacked because of the high fee they are charging on withdrawal.”
The resident said the protesters accused the POS operators of collaborating with bank officials to withdraw large sums of the new naira notes while ordinary persons get little amounts after queuing for long hours.