Protesters on the popular Iwo Road in Ibadan

Commercial and social activities were on Friday grounded in most parts of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, as residents took to the streets to protest the scarcity of naira notes in the state.

The protest which held at several parts of Ibadan was due to the fuel and new naira notes scarcity as well as erratic power supply for weeks.

The protests which began peacefully on some streets in Agodi and Iwo Road areas of the state where some youths displayed several placards registering their grievances, soon turned violent.

According to eyewitnesses, some protesters had marched to the Oyo State Government House inside the state Secretariat, Agodi, and attempted to force their way into the Governor’s office.

The protesters were repelled by security operatives attached to the governor’s office.

This angered the protesters who started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons into the governor’s office.

Also, a Wema Bank PLC branch at Gate bus-stop was attacked by protesters.

A video making the rounds on social media showed protesters throwing objects at the bank, shattering its windows.

Meanwhile, the Oyo State Police Command has called for calm following massive unrest in the city.

The state police command called said it received intelligence reports about plans by some “unscrupulous elements” to take advantage of the protests in Ibadan, the state capital, to attack some places of interest.

According to Adewale Osifeso, spokesman of the state police command, intelligence showed that some unspecified persons have plans to attack banks, prisons, and facilities belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He asked residents to remain calm and “go about their businesses without any fear of harassment or molestation”, while assuring them that security operatives are on top of the situation.

“The Oyo State Police Command wishes to inform members of the public to stay calm and maintain peace even amidst pockets of protest that have emanated at different parts of the metropolis over hike in fuel pump price and unavailability of cash for dispense at ATM machines and Point of Sale Terminal especially within the capital.

“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 include but not limited to INEC facilities, banks, media houses, schools, correctional centers and other critical infrastructure inclusive of looting major malls and business centers within the state.

“Members of the public are hereby advised especially with reference to the youth segment to avoid being used by agents of violence who want to capitalise on the situation to criminally enrich themselves especially as we navigate towards the 2023 General Elections as the Command is fully prepared to mobilise 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 agencies all in a bid to heighten the level of confidence of residents and as well as reassure them of the commitment of the Oyo State Police Command to providing comprehensive security for all residents in the State”, Osifeso said in the statement.

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