KADUNA: Communities Pay Terrorists N400m Taxes – Ex-KSMC Boss

KADUNA: Communities Pay Terrorists N400m Taxes – Ex-KSMC Boss
  • Lose farm produce to insurgents
  • Residents take up arms in self-defence

Terrorists have received at least N400million in taxes from poor farmers in the Birnin Gwari Area of Kaduna State, with an additional 20% of their farm produce.

In this regard, the extortion is said to have led members of the community to resolve to arm and defend themselves by any means possible, in line with the recent call by Zamfara State Governor Bello Mattawalle, on his people to take up arms to protect themselves against the terrorists.

A community leader in Birnin Gwari and former managing director of the Kaduna State Media Corporation, KSMC, Alhaji Zubairu Idris Abdulra’uf, who disclosed the people’s resolution, said the people had already been pushed to the wall by the bandits and welcomed the self-defence option as directed by Governor Mattawalle.

According to Abdulra’uf, the frequency of the attacks had completely paralysed economic activities in Birnin Gwari due to the activities of the bandits.

According to the community leader, the people have reached “the point of no return”, as they are being pushed to the wall by the rampaging bandits.

“Yesterday, the people of Randegi confronted these bandits who tried to overrun Randegi, a farming community, and they succeeded in dislodging these bandits. So, I think our people are now ready if the government cannot perform its constitutional function.

“Randegi is one of the areas where these bandits have their routes through Zamfara State to Niger State.

“When you talk of Birnin-Gwari Local Government as a whole, it is between N300 million to N400 million paid to these bandits.

“There are three stages of paying these types of taxes to these bandits. You have to pay pre-season and mid-season when the crops are about to start yielding. You will pay these bandits because they will not allow you to have access to your farm.

“Then, at the end of the season when you are harvesting, you will give these bandits money before you access your farm.

“And when you access your farm after paying these taxes, they will now tell you that apart from giving them money, you will give a ratio of two bags of every 10 bags of all the assorted grains you harvest.

“For the past three years, this is what the Birnin-Gwari people have been enduring and we are now in a state of hopelessness and frustration. When people are frustrated, they will now look for the best option for themselves and we have resolved to arm ourselves since the government cannot protect us.

“We are living in a situation where people can no longer work or even travel one kilometre from Birnin-Gwari town to other areas and it is the same thing that we have in all the districts in Birnin Gwari.

“If something is not done, we are going to have a food crisis. Birnin-Gwari used to produce at least 700 metric tonnes of assorted grains but now people cannot access their farms.

“There are many cases, since the beginning of this rainy season, that people are being abducted on their way to the farm and even the cattle they use for farming are being collected from them”, Abdulra’uf was quoted as having said.

AljazirahNigeria recalls that many parts of Kaduna State, especially communities in southern part of the country, have been under series of attacks by bandits, resulting in the deaths of innocent citizens and loss of property worth millions of naira.

The state government last Sunday confirmed that bandits attacked worshippers, killing three persons and injuring two others in Kajuru Local Government Area in the state.

Confirming the incident,  Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan said, “On a sad note, security agencies have reported to the Kaduna State Government that bandits attacked worshippers and locals at Ungwan Fada, Ungwan Turawa and Ungwan Makama in Rubu general area of Kajuru LGA”.

It was reported that the bandits stormed the villages on motorcycles, beginning from Ungwan Fada and moving into Ungwan Turawa, before Ungwan Makama and then Rubu.

Aruwan explained that in Rubu village, the bandits attacked worshippers in the Maranatha Baptist Church and St. Moses Catholic Church, killed three, injured and kidnapped many people, looted shops and carted away valuables from the villages”, he said.

Recall that the NASS has recently deliberated on a bill criminalizing ransom payment in any form.

When our correspondence contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammad Jalige, to confirm the claims of the affected residents on payment of taxes as a passage or protection to access their farms, were abortive as  phone calls were not taking or returned as of the time of filing this report.

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