Lack of naira in Nigeria: Attacks on banks in Warri and Benin City

a long line to pay in

In some Nigerian towns and cities, irate demonstrations have started as people struggle to obtain new banknotes.

Weeks of frustration have been building as a result of a cash shortage caused by a shortage of the newly designed naira notes.

Two commercial banks reportedly caught fire in Warri and Benin City, both in southern Nigeria.

Nigerians have had to wait in long lines at the cash registers, and some have even camped out in front of banks in an effort to get money first.

People claim they have been compelled to skip meals and work while lacking the funds to pay for transportation or food.

The 200, 500, and 1,000 naira higher denomination notes have been redesign by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which claims that this is done to replace the dirty money currently in circulation, combat inflation, stop counterfeiting, and encourage a cashless society.

Last October, the change was announced to Nigerians, who were urged to deposit any cash they had in savings accounts.

In a nation where cash is still widely used, however, not enough of the new notes have been printed. A whopping 40% of people reportedly lack access to bank accounts.

In protest over not being able to withdraw their savings, demonstrators in Ibadan blocked streets and attacked Central Bank and other commercial banks. Protesters can be seen venting their frustrations in footage gathered by BBC Yoruba and spreading on social media.

President Muhammadu Buhari is under pressure to act to prevent the ruling All Progressives Congress from losing votes just ten days before the nation's elections.

The bank had set a deadline of 10 February for the old notes to stop being accepted as legal tender, but the Supreme Court blocked it in response to a legal challenge from 10 states.

Just three days before the elections, next week, the case that was scheduled to resume on Wednesday has been postponed.

Megan Fisher has more information.

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