Anger is building up in parts of Nigeria over the scarcity of fuel and the redesigned naira notes.
Reports reaching us at Greenbarge Reporters online newspaper showed that Ibadan, the Oyo State capital has been in turmoil since morning today, February 3.
It was reported that irate protesters destroyed some structures housing Banks in some areas of the state even as others went wild, destroying vehicles and other valuables.
This was even some soldiers in uniform were said to have been beaten up in Benin, capital of Edo State for manhandling a lady that was taking video of their bulldozing their way into a Bank to collect the new notes.
The soldiers, said to be numbering ten, were said to have bypassed people who have been in queue for hours, bulldozed their way into the Bank and collected the new notes in bundles, but manhandled a lady that was taking video of their activity.
The angry mob then descended on some of the soldiers and beat them black and blue while other fled the area.
The recent incidence in Kano where protesters vent their anger at the time President Muhammadu Buhari was on walking visit to the State capital was also traced to the scarcity of the naira notes.
Murmuring and bottled up complaints by Nigerians, especially, those in the rural areas and the poor ones in big cities, have been the order of the day and are threatening to crescendo into crisis.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has expressed worryover the difficulty experiences Nigerians are going through over the new naira notes
As a result, he met with some players in the FinTech space today, February 3, with a view to explore possible ways of mitigating the hardship.
Professor Osinbajo asked the regulators and the banks to deploy more FinTechs and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.
“You need cash to pay for transport. For instance, in Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buying recharge cards?
“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things.”
A statement by his spokes person, Laolu Akande said that during the virtual interactive session with a number of FinTech investors and ecosystem players, the Vice President said that the Central Bank of Nigeria and the commercial banks should work with all FinTechs that have mobile money agents, not just some of them, in order to reach the farthest places in the country.
“It seems to me that banks must engage their mobile money operators – FinTechs with mobile money licenses and many of them have micro-finance bank licenses now and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs (as they are sometimes called) who are responsible to them and they can supervise by themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”
The Vice President spoke just as President Muhammadu Buhari, in a meeting with some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at the Presidential Villa, assured the nation that the challenges are being addressed and would be solved very soon.
In separate remarks, some of the players made valuable suggestions on how to address the current situation in the country and offered to support government at all levels with the required expertise to address the bottlenecks.
They suggested that USSD fees and the cost of data be reduced, while regulators should remove floor prices and called for relieving choke points in online transactions by cutting out some of the technical procedures.