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ABUJA Oct 11 Nigerian policemen and soldiers on
Tuesday dispersed around 100 youth protesters demanding the
resignation of central bank governor Godwin Emefiele over rising
inflation and a falling currency, a Reuters witness said.
The protesters marched to the central bank's headquarters in
the capital Abuja, accusing it of failing to drag Africa's
biggest economy and energy producer out of recession and
stopping the descent of the naira against the dollar.
In front of the bank's main entrance, they held up placards
saying "Emefiele must go" and "Where is your conscience,
Emefiele?" until policemen and soldiers scattered them.
It was the first sign of public unrest targeting the central
bank during the current economic crunch.
Nigeria is in recession as a slump in vital oil revenues has
hammered public finances and the currency, driving up the prices
of imported goods and basic food such as milk. The West African
nation needs to buy abroad to meet most of its food needs.
Annual inflation accelerated to 17.5 percent in August,
compared with 9.3 percent in the same month last year.
In June the central bank dropped its peg of the naira to the
dollar, prompting the currency to depreciate by 40 percent in a
step meant to attract more investors. But bankers say the move
has only sped up the decline of the naira on the parallel black
market, which has become the benchmark.
On Tuesday, the naira traded at 310 against the dollar on
the official interbank market and 470 on the black market,
according to dealers.
(Reporting by Felix Onuah and Oludare Mayowa; Writing by Ulf
Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich)