Chaos as Warri protests break out, banks’ ATMs, POS systems set ablaze

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On Wednesday, the Warri metropolis and its surroundings fell into chaos as youths demonstrated against the scarcity of new naira notes and the impossibility of conducting transactions with them.
According to information obtained, an outbreak of violence began in Udu, a small town close to Warri, Delta State’s commercial center, and later spread to Enerhen Junction, a neighborhood that is home to several new generation banks.

In response to the nationwide cash shortage, the rioting youths who had besieged the banks in the early morning hours destroyed the automated teller machines of local banks.
Protesters set bonfires on the road to block vehicular movement at the busy Orhuwhorum junction, where there is a branch of Access Bank and a Union Bank, which raises the tension and chaos in the neighborhood.

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A group of women and kids carrying leaves joined the protesters in a demonstration over the lack of naira notes and the increase in fuel pump prices, which sparked the riot that started in Orhuwhorum junction and spread to Express junction.

The protesters damaged the Access Bank ATM at the Orhuwhorum junction and the First Bank ATM on Udu Road, according to our correspondent who was on the scene. The ATM at the intersection of Orhuwhorum was seen to have a fire started on it before it was extinguished.
Part of the building of the banks was also destroyed by mobs who hauled stones at the bank premises.

Bonfires were set at various junctions, particularly the ever-busy Orhuwhorum junction and Express Junction.
The riot is said to have started before bank employees and customers who were inside for morning transactions fled the area.

Parents scrambled to pick up their kids and wards from school before closing time as a number of nearby schools were hastily closed by school administration.

Although there is still unrest in the area as of the time of this report, soldiers and mobile police officers from the Delta State Police Command’s Operation Delta Hulk were spotted driving around the flashpoints to disperse the protesters.

Several hours after the raging youths swarmed the ATMs, the security guards also parked their cars in front of the banks.
Some of the locals who had gathered at the scene told our correspondent that the banks’ lack of new notes and their refusal to accept the old notes for transactions have the populace in a bad way.

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“We’re exhausted. You go to the gas station to buy fuel. They said they won’t accept the old notes despite the exorbitant rate they’re selling. Okay, let’s do a transfer. They said no, no transfer. Give us fresh notes, banks refuse and claim they are cash-strapped; what do they want us to do? Both old and new notes are unavailable to us for use in transactions. The youths decided to emerge because we’ve reached a dead end.

“They were fortunate that the security personnel arrived promptly because they could have burned the banks. People were running helter-skelter everywhere, and parents were rushing to pick up their kids from school in all directions. The entire POS network in Orhuwhorum and Express Junctions was destroyed. One local, who only gave his name as Benjamin, claimed that there was “really commotion everywhere.”

It was reported that the mobs brandished clubs and other dangerous objects around as they tore down the billboards of both APC and PDP politicians that adorned the Orhuwhorum and Express Junctions.


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