residents from Gidan-goga village in the Maradun local government area of Zamfara state are terrified as the bandits’ deadline for paying a 20 million naira tax is approaching.
A bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, had told the community that the 20 million naira must be paid on or before Sunday of this week.
He threatened to attack the town if the money was not paid.
An indigenous person from the area, who requested anonymity for security reasons, said city round that he had fled to the city of Gusau fearing Turji’s wrath.
The neighbour, who said he left with his family, explained that he had no money to contribute to the fee collected by the villagers.
“I was asked to contribute N25,000 towards the fee and I tried my best to comply with the demand but could not due to financial difficulties.
“So, I decided to leave the village because I know what will happen if the N20m tax imposed by Turji is not paid by the due date,” he said.
Another village resident, who gave his name as Musa Sani, also told our correspondent that the community recently paid a tax of 15 million naira to a different bandit group from Turji camp.
Sani lamented that “this time it is difficult for us to raise more money to meet Turji’s demand.”
He said city round that many people, particularly women and children, had fled the village since then.
“Many people have run away and I don’t think those who are still in town will be able to pay the 20 million naira fee next Sunday.”
When asked about city round if the villagers had reported the matter to the security officers, Sani said there was no need to report because the police and army were aware of the villagers’ situation.
“They are aware of what is happening in the town. So what’s the gist of letting them know the problem since they know what’s going on? he said.
When contacted, state police command spokesman SP Mohammed Shehu said: “The command did not receive a report on the matter. “However, the police are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the people of the state.
“We urge the public to immediately report any such security threat to police and other security agencies for prompt response.”