Idahosa Moses – Benin City
The Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOSCO), on Tuesday, blocked the main entrance of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Benin City, in protest over naira crunch.
The protesters who brandished different placards with various inscriptions depicting their grievances, blocked the Akpakpava axis of the road, leading to major gridlock at the city centre and its adjoining streets.
The leader of the civil rights group and former Coordinator General of EDOSCO, said the naira swap policy is a deliberate attempt by the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emiefele, in alleged connivance with the Federal Government to subject the masses to untold hardship
He accused CBN of deliberately starving Commercial banks and POS operators in Edo of cash, having lured Nigerians to deposit all their old naira notes.
He said: “Sir, these are Nigerians ably led by the Edo Civil Society Organisations. We are here because Nigerians have started dying inside their houses.
“Since the day, you, Godwin Emefiele came up with the new policy of not being able to withdraw not more than N20,000 in the bank, you also said you have extended the date for expiration of the old naira notes from the 31 of January to 10 of February.
“In all of these, you are retrieving the old money and you refused to give us the new money. You said we should start using electronic means, ATMs and POS.
“And you people failed to give the commercial banks the money to stock their ATMs, you people still didn’t allow the commercial banks to allow the money gets to the POS operators.
“As at today, we use N3,000 to buy N10,000 in Nigeria, this is not dollars anymore. We are now using naira to buy naira,” Agho said.
Agho said the CBN should step up its game to relieve the citizens of the state of the current hardship brought upon them by its policy, threatening that what they just started was just a peaceful show as they are coming back for more radical actions against the CBN branch in the state.
Venting her anger at the protest ground, Mrs. Ameze Omorose, a widow, said she and her children are dying of hunger and that the bank should give her, her money.
“I went to POS with no money, I went to the Bank also no money and my children are hungry and I am hungry too.
Responding, the Comptroller, CBN, Benin Branch, Mr Renner Jumbo, appealed to the citizens of the state to be patient as machineries have been put in place to ease their suffering, just as he gave the reasons the CBN came out with the redesigning of the naira.
“I want to tell you what we have done. We are not unmindful of what you are going through. As you are not seeing this naira so we are not seeing it too.
“We are pleading with you people to be patient. The money will circulate. We have pushed out the lesser denominations to cushion the effects of the hardship,” he assured.
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