By Soji Ajibola
Police have hinted of a plan to attack offices of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) banks, media houses and other strategic places under guise of fuel and inadequate supply of redesigned naira notes by unscrupulous elements in Oyo state.
It will be recalled that aggrieved residents at the early hours of Friday took over major roads, especially Gate/Iwo road axis in Ibadan North East local government area in protest against inadequate supply of naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Also, customers waited endlessly at the various points of the Automated Teller Machines of some of the banks in the metropolis.
Long queues were observed at some of the ATMs points despite the fact that there is a report that they were not dispensing the redesigned ones as directed by CBN.
Angered by this development, aggrieved residents barricaded the major roads, set up bonfires while a police post located at the heart of the city was reportedly torched.
Disturbed by the trend, the Police Public Relations Officer, Oyo Command, Adewale Osifeso was quoted in a statement calling on the residents to be calm and maintain peace.
The statement read, “Worthy of note is that, available intelligence reveals that certain unscrupulous elements have perfected plans to hijack the process, escalating the situation into full scale chaos by shutting down and attacking places of interest which includes but not limited to INEC facilities, Banks, Media houses, Schools, Correctional Centers and other critical infrastructures inclusive of looting major malls and business centers within the State.
“Member of the public are hereby advised especially with reference to the youth segment to avoid being used by agents of violence who want to capitalize on the situation to criminally enrich themselves especially as we navigate towards the 2023 General Elections as the Command is fully prepared to mobilize fully to prevent these criminal elements from turning Oyo State into their Playground.
“Consequent on the above, Residents would witness high octane Patrols in concert with relevant sister security agency all in a bid to Heighten the level of confidence of residents and as well reassure them of the commitments of the Oyo State Police Command at providing comprehensive security for all residents in the State.
Meanwhile the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has carpeted the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the inadequate supply of the redesigned naira notes, and lingering scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which have made life difficult for people in the country.
National President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, threw the bomb, during an interview with journalists, in Ibadan, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the commissioning of Food Union Hotel and Suites, Apata, Ibadan, Oyo State, built by the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), under the leadership of its outgoing national president, Lateef Oyelekan.
He contended that the scarcity of fuel and redesigned naira notes might be an attempt to disrupt the conduct of this year’s general elections. The way out of the incessant fuel challenges, he said, is for the Federal Government to make its four refineries to be operational.
On the redesigned naira notes, Wabba said: “As far back as 12th of December 2022, we wrote to the CBN Governor the likely consequence of the action he was about to take in redesigning the naira notes, without consultation and dialogue with stakeholders. He took the action unilaterally. We have seen it come to pass the consequence that we warned him against. Also, we wrote to Mr. President as NLC to tell him what we envisaged because the entire economy of Nigeria and lather part of Africa is mostly informal.
“So, people trade in their small and medium scale businesses in actual currencies. By the time you retrieve the old currencies, and the new ones are not available, what you can see is chaos. When I was coming to Ibadan this morning, in every bank, I have seen a very chaotic situation, where people are losing a lot of man-hour. People queue in banks to retrieve their hard-earned money that government cannot give them.”