Villagers say they have no choice but to pay taxes
The gunmen] offered us N800,000 to pay for our farm work and we paid. “
These are the words of a man who was taxed by kidnappers for ransom before agreeing to harvest his crops in Dan Kurmi village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Nigeria.
Such statements are uttered by the majority of the people of Zamfara State, which has long been plagued by deadly militant attacks, kidnappings and rapes.
The man told the BBC: “There are villages in our neighborhood such as Duhuwar Saulawa, Duhuwar Maikulungu, Baudi, Zagadi, Doka and Tungar Makeri; these villages have nowhere to put money and people have paid. go to work [farm] and the gunmen will take them. “
A resident of one village told us: “Now the most disturbing thing is that the attackers have come up with a new style … like what happened in the village of Duhuwar Maikulungu where a farmer hit ten bags of soybeans. “After the operation was over, the gunmen chased away the farmers and stole their produce.”
According to the farmers, the gunmen confiscated their produce worth millions of naira and failed to keep their promise not to kidnap them.
As a result, they spend the night with one eye wide open and are impoverished because their crops and little money are confiscated.
“You see people like Duhuwa Saulawa have paid more than N300,000 but the forest has not been able to enter. Now if you enter our farms you will see that there is a drought on the ground, the rice is plentiful and she wants to cut it but there is no chance. “he said.
Governor Matawalle made peace with the militants but they did not stop the attacks
They called on the authorities to sue the security forces for not providing protection.
However, the Zamfara State Police Command through its spokesperson SP Mohammaed Shehu called on the villagers to stop paying taxes to the militants, saying doing so would encourage them to continue their attacks.
“We are always trying to raise awareness among the people to refrain from giving money because doing so only gives these militants the courage to come and make such money,” said SP Shehu.
But locals say there is no way they can stop paying taxes to the militants as the government has failed to protect their lives and property.
In the past, the Zamfara state government has negotiated with the militants to stop the attacks but the issue continues to escalate.