Naira Scarcity: Protesters Hit Sagamu, Raze Banks, INEC, IBEDC Offices – Photos
Protesters, yesterday, stormed major streets of Sagamu, Ogun State, to express their anger and displeasure over the hardship experienced as a result of the scarcity of naira notes.
They barricaded the Ijebu-Ode/Sagamu Interchange section of the Lagos-Sagamu-Benin Expressway with bonfires, leading to traffic gridlock which left hundreds of travelers stranded for hours.
The mob, made up mostly of youths, also torched two banks and the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and set ablaze equipment such as computers, TV sets, furniture, industrial generator, among others. They also vandalized the Sagamu LGA Secretariat office.
The two banks burnt were branches of Keystone Bank and Union Bank located at Ijoku Area while other banks were also attacked.
Daily Sun learnt the protest began in front of the Palace of the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi and later spread to other parts of the town. But a youth leader, Kayode Segun-Okeowo, described the act as a motivated destruction and not a protest.
I’m a comrade and understand the ABC of protest. It’s motivated to cause destruction. Those behind this must stop,” he said in a telephone interview.
•Opposition behind unrest
Ogun State Government described the violent protests as politically motivated.
A statement by the governor’s media aide, Kunle Somorin, claimed some disgruntled members and candidates of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were sighted leading the demonstration.
While the protests were purportedly against the scarcity of naira notes, the real intention of these elements became obvious with the involvement of known PDP members. It is on record that the campaign tour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which moved through Simawa to Ogijo and back to Sagamu, where two roads were commissioned yesterday, ended without any hitch.
The APC rally was attended by tens of thousands of people at different locations, lasting from about 8am in the morning to 8pm without any violence, quarrels or disagreements whatsoever. We believe strongly that it was the success of the APC rally of yesterday that got the feeble opposition PDP frustrated and, therefore, made their members embark on the mindless destruction of properties.
“The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has been on top of the fallouts of the naira re-design issues. The governor had visited the Central Bank headquarters in Abeokuta and some other commercial banks’ branches, made a state broadcast and empathised with the people with reassurance that efforts are on to ameliorate the negative impacts of the controversial policy on the people. Ogun State is also one of the states that has taken the Federal Government to court on the naira swap policy.”
He said arrests have been made by the police.
“The full wrath of the law will be made to bear on the culprits, no matter who their sponsors are,” he said.
•Allegations spurious – PDP
Reacting, the state Chairman of the PDP, Sikirulahi Ogundele, said the outburst of the state government showed its sense of irresponsibility and insensitivity to the plight of the people.
Ogundele, who expressed disappointment over what he described as “spurious allegations” from the ruling party, added that the APC has failed Nigerians and the people were only reacting out of frustration.
“The ruling party has failed the people and they are now reacting to the untoward hardship its policies had brought on them. Can they say that PDP was behind the protests in Oyo, Ondo and other states? Nigerians are just reacting but instead of the ruling party to own up to Nigerians that their policies have brought hardship and pains on them, they are busy shifting blame on the opposition party.
For the records, PDP has nothing to do with the protests in Sagamu or anywhere in the state. Let them go and check themselves. They are disconnected from the people. They should not put their failure on the PDP. They are disorganized and it is rubbing off on their faces now that people are ready to vote them out of office, starting from this Saturday,” he said.
30 suspects arrested
The police confirmed that no fewer than 30 persons have been arrested in connection with the violent protests.
According to the police spokesperson in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the arrested persons have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department on the order of the Commissioner of Police, Frank Mba.
Oyeyemi added that the combined team of policemen and military men were on the ground to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, the Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, has sued for calm.
A statement signed by the monarch read: “I appeal to all to remain calm and peaceful as we continue to engage the Federal Government. This policy is not from the state or local government. Therefore, the destruction of lives and properties will only compound an already bad situation.
I urge our people to continue to accept the old notes in line with the Supreme Court ruling. No person who accepts the old notes would lose out. I can assure you of that, and please hold on to that promise. Further, I am also mandating all our market people to continue to accept the old notes. I hereby undertake that no one will lose out for possessing the old notes.”
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