Archetypal of the Aba Women Riot in colonial Nigeria, aggrieved market women in Warri, on Friday, spontaneously stormed major roads and banks to protest against the lack of new naira notes to transact their daily businesses.
Expressing frustration in accessing the new naira, having been forced to deposit their old notes, the angry women also agonised over the scarcity and hike in the price PMS which range now between N500 and N700 in filling stations.
The women went on the rampage and barricaded the popular Warri – Sapele Road and the NPA expressway with some laying a siege at an old generation bank near Ogbe-Ijoh Market, Warri South Local Government Area.
In outright anger, the aggrieved women also pulled down canopies of the said bank that were meant for customers to queue outside the bank premises.
One of the protesters, who identified herself as Laiye from Odimodi, who sells fresh fish, lamented that she had suffered untold hardship due to Naira scarcity.
With her business crashing before her eyes, the fish seller, who wore a netmask on her face, complained that she had not made any sale since the acute scarcity of Naira began.
Laiye, therefore, threatened that she was prepared to die rather than continue to suffer the pains caused by scarcity of the new Naira notes.
Calls allegedly made to security agencies for protection during the rage were allegedly rebuffed as the cash crunch policy had not exempted them, too.
Meanwhile, another commercial bank in the Warri Garage area allegedly allowed only their staff access to its ATM to withdraw cash while allegedly denying customers access to the cash withdrawal outlets.
In frustration, the customers allegedly were barricaded with iron bars of the bank out of its premises to avert unrest.
In anger, the women barricaded the Warri Sapele road with tyres, tugs of trees, wooden tables and anything in sight to ventilate their displeasure.
Another set of women traders from Iron Market and Main Market armed with placards bearing their grievances also blocked the NPA expressway to press home their demands.
They threatened to boycott the coming general elections if their plight is not addressed on time.
The protesters disrupted traffic movement, singing solidarity songs to channel their inability to access their money at the banks.
The women from the various market groups lamented how the present situation in the country such as hike in transportation, no cash, exorbitant fee charged at the point of sales, POS is crippling their business as the few buyers who come insist they pay through electronic transfer due to nonavailability of cash.
Some of the traders, while speaking to journalists, revealed that they now battle with fake alerts and pay up to N2,000 to get N10,000 notes.
They called on the Central Bank of Nigeria and other relevant authorities to address the situation as it was already taking a huge toll on them, especially the cost of living.