Protest Rocks Lagos over the Scarcity of Naira Notes

Naira scarcity protest scene in lagos

Residents of Lagos woke up on Friday to behold a turbulent environment as the protest over the scarcity of the naira notes has spread in the volatile areas of the state.

The civil unrest which started on Monday morning has now snowballed into a widespread violent protest which has spread like wildfire in areas like Agege, Ikorodu and other parts of Lagos State.

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Trouble broke out in some parts of Lagos in the early hours of Friday, when some aggrieved mainly youths suspected to be hoodlums stormed major roads and suburbs to protest the hardship engendered by the prevailing naira scarcity in the state.

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The protesters trooped out in large numbers at Mile-12, Ketu, Ojota area, along Ikorodu Road, and Iyana-Ipaja around 6 am. As the pandemonium continued to spread in the city, the crises later affected Agege and parts of Ikeja and Mangoro areas.

Naira scarcity protest scene in lagos
Lagos protests the current naira scarcity

Recall that there has been growing resistance to the new naira policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, since the expiration of its initial deadline for the validity of the old notes on 31st January. Following the complaints that ensued after it became difficult for people to obtain cash in the banks and through POS, some people resorted to violent attacks on some banking facilities in some parts of the country.

The CBN naira policy has seemingly affected some politicians who probably find it difficult to use cash the way it was known in the past during elections. For this reason, some politicians have taken a stand against the federal government and the CBN governor insisting on the reversal of the policy.

With this, the speculation is rife that some of the skirmishes and protests witnessed today may have the signature of some aggrieved politicians who could capitalize on the situation to create a scenario whereby civil unrest can be used to force the hand of the policymakers to reverse the new naira plans.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has been the most vocal among the governors, especially from the APC extraction who have vowed to battle what they described as anti-APC policy. He has issued media statements with strong words which have put him in the spotlight in recent times. Others in his team include Akeredolu of Osun state and his Kano state counterpart.

The presidential candidate of the APC had earlier described the naira redesign policy and the current fuel scarcity as policies targeted at demarketing his candidacy. He argued that the hardship generated by the policies was aimed at setting the people against the government of APC and thereby making him unsellable to the electorates as the February elections approach.

Meanwhile, President Buhari in a nationwide address, on Thursday, approved that only the old N200 notes should co-exist with the new notes for the next 60 days.

The president also called on the CBN to put measures in place to ensure that any individual or institution found to have sabotaged the smooth implementation was made to face the weight of the law.

With the protest spreading, motorists and residents hurriedly turned back in panic from their way to work as the rioters went berserk with a bonfire set across the road. Shops in some places were closed while schools hurriedly closed and asked children to return to their homes.

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