By Bukola Hameed
Protests have broken out in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, in response to the hardship occasioned by petrol scarcity and lack of access to the redesigned naira notes.
Pockets of crowd gathered at different corners of the Sapon area on Tuesday, singing songs of displeasure as they besieged the Sapon branch of Access Bank and First Bank to obtain the scarce new notes.
Witnesses say the gatherings were largely peaceful until the arrival of police officers who shot a protester dead and caused injuries to several others.
“It was a protest although it did not start as one. When we gathered and the bank said they are not attending to anyone, people stood outside the premises and were complaining,” a witness who pleaded anonymity said.
“As the crowds increased people began to sing songs and the word spread that people are protesting. Before we knew it police came and were shooting sporadically,” the witness further said.
Peoples Gazette has learned that the Access Bank building has now been set on fire by protesting youths in response to the police provocation.
Videos seen also show that the premises of the First Bank branch in the area has been vandalised.
In reaction to Peoples Gazette enquiry into the incident, the police spokesman in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the situation was now under control.
When asked about what led to the violence that resulted in a police officer killing one of the protesters, Mr Oyeyemi said he had no information to give.
He added: “You are getting a wrong information” and processed to direct our reporter to speak with workers of the affected banks for what transpired.
Governor Dapo Abiodun calls for calm
The Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun has called on the good people of Ogun state to be patient and continue to exhibit the omoluabi traits the state is known for.
He said, “In view of the current circumstances we have found ourselves, I want to urge our youth to be calm and patient as we are taking measures to ensure that the situation is put under control.
As your government that is compassionate about the welfare of its people, We suspended our rallies as a means of showing empathy with the people and we have also taken further steps by engaging critical stakeholders in the banking sector, which is not limited to top officials of Central Bank of Nigeria in Ogun State and Bankers’ Committee so as to ameliorate the suffering of our people.
I hereby urge our youth to continue to exhibit the Omoluabi traits we are known for in Ogun State and desist from any act of social unrest or disruption of the peace we currently enjoy in our dear State”.
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