Commuters Stranded, Activities Crippled as Protest Hits Lagos over Cash Scarcity
Protests broke out in different parts of Lagos on Friday morning over the scarcity of cash which has continued to trail the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) currency redesign and cash swap policy.
This is coming despite the warning by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday for Lagosians to remain law-abiding and shun mischief makers who may exploit the situation to promote anti-people agenda.
The development left passengers stranded and motorists scampering for safety, while pupils and students also had to go back home as a result of the pandemonium, crippling commercial activities in some parts of the city.
Major roads in areas such as Ikorodu, Iyana Iba, Agege, Ketu, Mile 12, Ojota and others were blocked with bonfires in the early hours of the morning, as group of aggrieved persons protested the unavailability of cash and the hardship it has brought them.
One of the stranded passengers who was heading to Iyana Ipaja told our correspondent that she could not get a bus this morning at First Gate bus stop, which is located around Igbo elerin/okokomaiko area of the state.
According to her, there were a lot of people on the LASU/Iyana Iba road with no bus in sight to convey them to their various destinations.
There have been on and off pockets of violent protests in different parts of the country due to the CBN policy since last week, with angry protesters going as far as destroying bank facilities. There were also reports of deaths and injuries resulting from the fracas.
On Wednesday, protests broke out again in Ibadan, Ilorin, and some parts of Ondo, Edo and Delta States, as the masses could still not lay hands on the new notes, while transporters and traders rejected the old notes.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday said that its February 8 order stopping the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing the February 10 deadline for the validity of old N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes still subsists, as the matter is yet to be heard.
The court made the clarification, following a complaint by the counsel to Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, that the Federal Government and its agencies had failed to comply with the order and had allegedly directed the rejection of the old notes.
However, President Mohammadu Buhari, in a nationwide address on Thursday, stated that only the old N200 notes should co-exist with the new notes till April 10, ignoring the apex court’s ruling.
He also called on the CBN to ensure that any institution or person(s) found to have impeded or sabotaged the implementation was made to bear the full weight of the law.
In his part, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Thursday, appealed to Nigerians to allow the naira redesign policy of the government work.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the situation via his verified Twitter handle said that vehicular and human movement have now been fully restored.
While advising people to safe as the Force closely monitors and manage the situation, he added that operatives of the Force have been positioned in identified areas.
JournalNG gathered that the protest has now spread to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, gradually bringing vehicular movement to a halt.