Four persons, including a nursing mother, were on Wednesday, killed in Benin, the Edo State capital, as angry residents barricaded the gate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in protests over the scarcity of naira cash.
Daily Trust correspondent gathered that two persons were killed on the Akpakpava road where the CBN office is located, one at Sakpoba road, while the nursing mother was killed by stray bullet while waiting at the ATM spot to withdraw cash.
Angry residents had besieged the CBN to swap old notes, following its rejection by banks, fuel stations and market women.
Trouble started when an unmarked Toyota Hilux which the protesters believed was from the government office coming to the CBN to collect new cash wanted to enter the bank
This angered the customers, who rejected and started throwing stones at the vehicle before security agents brought the situation under control.
The protest snowballed into crisis when other protesters from Mission road and Sakpoba road started attacking the CBN by throwing stones and other objects with the attempt to break in.
One of the protesters who gave his name as Abraham, alleged that government officials wanted to collect new notes from the CBN, hence the people had to stop them.
He said the police responded by firing tear gas and bullets in the air and in the process three people were killed.
The angry protesters later moved into the town attacking and vandalizing banks offices across the state.
It was gathered that UBA, First Bank, Keystone, Access bank, Unity banks, Polaris banks had their ATMs vandalised.
Following the development, banks across the state hurriedly closed down so hoodlums.
Another protester, Godwin Osemwingie, told Daily Trust that he saw three corpses on the ground while others sustained injuries.
“The problem right now is that I went to the bank to deposit my old naira notes, they said they are not accepting it and even the bus drivers are also rejecting it,” he said.
On his part, Osasere Enadaghe, said he went to Bureau D’ Change (BDC) to exchange 50 euro currency for naira and was given old naira notes of N30,000, but when he got to where he intended buying some items, the sellers rejected it.
“What I see in this place now is very peculiar to us. We are passing through a difficult time. We don’t know where we are going or where we are coming from,” he added.