Ogun State Governor Sues For Peace, As Protests Rocks Capital
By Sekinat Salam-Opebiyi, Abeokuta
Following the protests that rocked Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, over cash crunch on Tuesday, Governor Dapo Abiodun, has called on the protesters to allow peace to reign and allow the outcome of his engagement with the Bankers Forum and the Central Bank to yield positive results.
While appealing for calm, the governor said the voices of the protesters had been heard loud and clear and that the government is responding.
“I call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions.
“It has become necessary to formally appeal to all concerned, having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having conducted series of meetings, along with my brother governors, with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele and security chiefs on the challenges, sufferings and pains being experienced over this cash scarcity and cash swap occasioned by the redesigning of our currency.
“I have also personally had to engage the controller of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abeokuta and other bank managers to seek relief on the amounts that citizens can withdraw in exchange for deposits made in commercial banks and extracted a commitment that people would have access to their deposited funds without hitches.
“I understand the frustration and disappointments of our citizens queuing at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), waiting to withdraw money for hours or entering banking halls only to be turned back or given so little that is not enough to meet their immediate needs”, the governor said.
He added that he does not doubt that the intention of this policy was not to unleash hardship and suffering on our teeming populace.
“We will hear from the President as to what steps are being taken to bring succour and relief to Nigerians. My plea to our monarchs being the closest to the grassroots is to ensure the maintenance of peace in their domains with the support of their subjects.
“We will not be where we are in terms of socio-economic development in an atmosphere of insecurity; so we owe a lot to you and my charge to you this afternoon is that you please help us manage this situation.
Governor Abiodun further said it is disheartening to see bank buildings being vandalised and people resorting to violence to register their displeasure.
“We shouldn’t allow our state to descend to that level. We are a peaceful and peace-loving people and the safest state in the country. I want to use this medium to plead with our youths that when there is a problem, the solution is not to hit the streets and start protest marches; we can not solve a problem with another problem.
“Civil disobedience will rather exacerbate the anguish in the land. Let us stay away from the avoidable loss of lives and properties. Please, let us embrace peace. We are a very peaceful state; we are very orderly and we have spent a lot of time and energy investing in the peace and security of our people. We must eschew provocation that could lead to a breakdown of law and order.”
Gov. Abiodun noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria is doing its best to arrest the situation.
The All Progressives Congress governors had earlier met with President Muhammadu Buhari, pleading that the old naira notes be allowed to run as legal tender along with the redesigned currency, pending the resolution of the cash crunch crisis.