Bandits operating in the eastern part of Sokoto State have imposed levies on the locals to pay before next Friday or risk attack, Daily Trust can report.
A resident of the area revealed that locals are also barred from their farms by the bandits pending payment of the prescribed levies.
The Union Nigeria understands that some of the communities had settled the bandits while others were working hard to raise the money.
It was gathered that the bandits considered the population of each community in determining the amounts they would pay.
“Some are asked to pay N400,000, some N700,000 while some even pay less than that and is left for the community to decide how the money will be raised.
“In some communities, heads of households are asked to pay N2,000 each and young men that are not married pay N1,000 each,” another source said.
Findings revealed that Attalawa, Danmaliki, Adamawa, Dukkuma, Sardauna and Dangari villages were asked to pay N400,000 each.
However, residents of Kwatsal village billed N4million were said to have already paid N2million out of the money to the bandits.
“All the villages were given up to Friday to pay the money or risk attack. People are paying because they have no other option,” one of the sources added.
A member representing Sabon Birni North Constituency, Aminu Almustapha Gobir, who confirmed the development, said there had been no attack in Sabon Birni in recent times because the locals were complying with the directive of the bandits.
“The people prefer to pay and live in peace in their communities than to rely on security agencies or go on exile,” he said.
A former Chairman of Sabon Birni Local Government Area, Idris Muhammad, however, faulted the payment of levies to bandits, saying doing so would not guarantee people’s safety.
“We have different groups of bandits in the area, if you pay a levy to this group how sure are you the other group will not attack you?”
“The same scenario unfolded in Gatawa and Tarah, which were attacked and several of their people abducted by different groups of bandits. Their relatives had to pay ransom to those different groups before their release.
“This is what will continue to happen, if one group places a levy on you and you pay, another group will come to either attack you or demand for levy again and you must pay them or face the consequences,” he said.
Several calls placed to the spokesman for the police in Sokoto, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, and the Commissioner for Security and Carriers Matters, Colonel Garba Moyi (retd), were not answered.
They also did not respond to text messages sent to them.
SOURCE: Daily Trust