Hakeem Gbadamosi – Akure
Ondo students under the auspices of National Association of Nigeria Students (Joint Campus Council) and some Civil Society Organisations, on Wednesday, converged on Akure, the state capital, and staged a peaceful protest, over the scarcity of naira notes and fuel scarcity ravaging the nation.
The protesters who mounted a musical stage on the ever-busy Akure/Owo highway, blocked the road, causing vehicular gridlock for several hours, while travellers were stranded on the road.
Speaking during the rally, one of the youth leaders in the state, Yemi Fasipe, said the protest became necessary to register their displeasure over the continued scarcity of naira and high price of petrol in the country.
According to him, the situation has caused frustration among our people, while many Nigerians spend hours at the fuel station and banks.
Fasipe said; “the situation is uncomfortable for everybody. It has nothing to do with personality. No one has access to naira freely. We want to pass message that the government should be fast to tackle the issue.
“We also have a message for the Ondo State Government. We realised petrol dealers hike prices unnecessarily even when they got product at official price.
“We want the state government to set up a committee to monitor sales of petrol and also access to money. We want to be part of that committee.
“The government should do what is good for the masses. The masses are at the receiving end. This policy is too harsh. Old notes should be used alongside the new notes.
“This is a peaceful protest. We are here to tell the government we are not happy but whoever wants to hijack this protest to loot and destroy properties will be handed over to the police.”
Another protester, Omotayo Samuel, said they were passing the message to let the government know that people are not happy with the situation of these past days. We are not happy. We are now buying naira.
“Government should reverse these policies. It is political to change money at this time. Many people are suffering while it is difficult to get money these days.
“We are doing this peaceful protest. We have been hearing several youths want to disrupt the peace of the state. We do not want a repeat of endsars. We want fuel and cash to be available. The timing of the policy is bad.”
Ondo Police Commissioner, Oyeyemi Oyediran, who addressed the protesters, commended them for being peaceful.
He appealed to the protesters not to allow hoodlums hijack the protest.