One killed as Ogun residents protest, vandalise Bank ATMs over naira and fuel scarcity

Protesters on Tuesday vandalised automated teller machines in a bank premises in Abeokuta as demonstrations over the scarcity of the new naira notes and Premium Motor Spirit, commonly called petrol, reached Ogun State.

As demonstrations over the shortage of the new naira notes and Premium Motor Spirit, often referred to as gasoline, spread to Ogun State on Tuesday, protesters in Abeokuta vandalized ATMs on the premises of a bank.

The redesigned three highest denominations of the new banknotes entered circulation on December 15 and were to have superseded the previous designs by January 31.

According to the governor of the central bank, Godwin Emefiele, the change was implemented to limit cash in circulation, combat currency counterfeiting, and terrorist funding, among other vices in the country.

However, Mr. Emefiele later declared that the deadline had been extended by 10 days, citing President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval.

Protests had broken out in portions of Ibadan in Oyo State last week over shortage of the new notes, leading to an attack on the office of the governor.

On Monday, the presidential candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who had sought a further extension of the deadline, announced an indefinite postponement of his campaign event set for Tuesday in Ibadan, citing popular displeasure from the issue

As news of the protest in Obantoko, Asero, and its environs spread in Abeokuta, bank workers were seen rushing home to avoid being targetted by the protesters.

Traders abruptly closed their shops as the protesters made bonfires on roads in Sapon and Adatan areas.

Some protesters forced their way into the premises of the First Bank branch in Lafenwa where they destroyed the Automobile Teller Machines.

The police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the police were monitoring the situation.

“We are monitoring the situation and we have warned them to ensure that properties are not destroyed because we have noticed that people who do not even have money in their accounts are the ones leading the riot, so if anybody destroys any property, the person will be decisively dealt with,” he said.

On Monday, Governor Dapo Abiodun met with the bankers forum in the state to chart a way out of the hardship caused by the naira shortage.

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