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Naira Notes: Three Feared Dead In Attempts To Burn CBN Branch, Other Banks in Benin

•••As Customers Attack Access, First Banks At Udu In Delta


By Our Reporter

Three persons have been reported dead in an attempt to burn CBN bank.

Naijanewshub.com.ng gathered that no fewer than three persons were feared dead on Wednesday as irate youths made attempts to burn down a branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Benin, over the rejection of old naira notes.

The protesting customers however succeeded in destroying some commercial banks in Benin city.

This is coming just as a combined squad of army and police foiled attempt to set ablaze Access bank at Orhuwhorun junction in Udu local govt area of Delta state by angry customers who also destroyed First bank in Owvian in the early hours of Wednesday.

This followed the alleged outright rejection of the old currency by the Banks.

According to the report, all the ATM machines were allegedly carted away in the affected banks.

It was also gathered that there were shooting around the banks in a frantic effort to disperse the angry customers, while inhabitants around the banks were said to have been under heavy shooting and teargas from 8 am.

In Benin city, Edo State capital, the youths in their numbers barricaded all roads, leading to the popular and ever-busy Ring Road, where the Nigeria’ apex bank was situated while making attempts to gain entrance.

It took the timely intervention of security operatives to salvage the situation, but not without the protesters destroying many commercial banks in the axis.

Our Correspondent, who was caught up with the protest, reports that military officers began to shoot when they could not resist the push by the protesters.

The enraged protesters, who were visibly, carried leaves, sticks and other dangerous weapons descended on a branch of the First Bank of Nigeria, at the Ring Road and destroyed its ATM gallery.

Reports also had it that the disruption of activities, which caused a total gridlock at the heart of the city, started when depositors’ banks and business owners began to reject the old naira notes as a result of the CBN deadline.

When called to confirm the number of casualties, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, the Public Relations Officer of the Edo Police Command said he was yet to have information in that respect, but promised to revert later.

However, one of the protesters, Godwin Osemwingie, said he saw three corpses on the ground with many other protesters with varying degree of injuries.

“The problem right now is that we went to the bank to deposit my old naira notes, they said they are not accepting it and even the bus drivers are also rejecting it.

“You cannot buy anything. I just went to the bank, look at the money, this is Nigerian money and they are rejecting it.

“How do they want us to survive? We can’t buy and we can’t sell; even the CBN has rejected the old money from us, why? That is why we are protesting,” he said.

For one Osasere Enadaghe, he said he went to Bureau D’ Change (BDC) to exchange euro currency for naira and was given old naira notes of N30,000, only to get to where he intended buying some items and the sellers rejected it.

“What I see in this place now is very peculiar to us. We are passing through a difficult time. We don’t know where we are going or where we are coming from.

“I am just coming from Upper Sakponba this morning to change my money and before changing it, they told me that they collect both the old and the new money.

“So, I went to the market to buy things but I was told that they cannot collect the old naira note, which aboki (BDC operator) gave me.

“I just changed 50 euro this morning and I was given N30,000 old naira notes and the money is just a waste in my hand. What am I going to do with the money now,” said Enadaghe.

Precious Oruche, who said she visited the CBN to swap the old with new notes, described the situation as frustrating.

We did not see new money and we didn’t see old money. The little ones we have, you said deadline and now that we want to return it, the CBN said no way.

“I want to buy pure water, I make a transfer of N10 to the seller and if the person accepts, what about the internet issues?

“People you see protesting they really don’t want it but they are frustrated, Nigerians are frustrated, they have to stop.

“The people that they said they are doing it for, they have banks. So it is the poor masses that are suffering it. We are calling on the Nigerian government to make a fast U-turn before things go overboard,” she appealed.

Similarly, the protest has extended to other parts of the city such as University of Benin main gate, Mission road, Akpakpava road, Sakponba road and Siluko road, where protesters damaged a branch of Ecobank and Access Bank on the road.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, said the rampaging protesters were seen destroying kiosks of Point of Sales (PoS) operators in the area.

The source also said the youth forcefully entered substation of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) at the Siluko and damaged cars parked inside the premises.



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