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HomeNewsNigerian City Riots Over Cash Shortages

Nigerian City Riots Over Cash Shortages

Nigerian City Riots Over Cash Shortages

Angry protesters attacked banks in a southwest Nigeria city on Tuesday over a cash shortage, according to police and residents, as tensions rise in the country three weeks before a presidential election.
For weeks, Africa’s most populous country has been crippled by fuel shortages, and cash dispensers have run dry following a sudden currency swap.

Long lines have formed outside banks and gas stations, and tempers are fraying.

Riots erupted in three parts of southwest Abeokuta, according to police, after customers waited for hours to withdraw cash without success.

“Unfortunately, some hoodlums hijacked the protests and began destroying and vandalizing bank properties,” Abimbola Oyeyemi, spokesman for the state police, told AFP.

Workers and the properties of two commercial banks, he said, had been attacked, and protesters had set fire to roads to disrupt traffic.

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“The situation has been stabilized. However, we are warning hoodlums and criminals to stop wreaking havoc in the state.”

According to witnesses, the police fired shots to disperse the protesters, who pelted them with stones, iron bars, and planks. This is denied by the police.

Without warning, the central bank announced in October that it was changing banknotes to combat inflation and reduce the number of counterfeit bills in circulation in the country.

The abrupt change, however, resulted in long lines as Nigerians rushed to meet a deadline to turn in old notes, which has since been extended.

A persistent fuel shortage is also fueling the rage.

While Nigeria is one of Africa’s largest crude oil producers, it lacks refining capacity and must rely on imports from Europe and elsewhere.

The situation has increased pump prices, with Nigerians queuing for hours to fill up.

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Protests have taken place in several cities across the country. One person was killed last week in south-western Ibadan when an angry crowd clashed with police.

Riots erupted two weeks ago in Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit.

Nigerians will go to the polls on February 25 to choose a successor to Buhari, who will leave the office at the end of his second term.