…Burn farms, abduct defaulters — Native
…It’s not true —Police
By Ibrahim Hassan
Residents of Magami in Gusau Local Government Area, LGA, of Zamfara State, has raised the alarm over worsening security, begging government for help to save their communities from the rampaging bandits who have imposed levies on them.
According to them, the bandits normally mount road block to collect the levies, lamenting that whosoever that fail to pay the levy, the bandits would either destroy such person’s farm or he or she would be abducted.
“If you fail to pay bandits the levy, they either abduct you or burn your farm land, “ they said.
However, a BBC Hausa Service said the State Police Command has denied the report, saying no complaints had been made before it of any destruction of farmland by the bandits.
A native of Magami said in a phone interview that the area was in a serious calamity.
According to him, ”Once you leave Gusau before you reach Magami is a herculean task unless you have an escort. Since the killing of Mobile Police, MOPOL men in a day, they block the road four to five times. They stop large vehicle and empty the contents. They also impose tax.
“If you go to Magami, a kilometre to Magami the bandits can stop you, either abduct you or ask you to pay tax. As from Monday, they have set two farms on fire at Magami because of failure to pay tax to the bandits.
“The farmers went to harvest maize but the bandits stopped them and set the farms on fire. They held two women who were there hostage. The bandits seized a new vehicle belonging to the farmers, but they later released the women.
“The bandits demanded for money, before the farmers could mobilize and pay, the bandits set the farms on fire and threatened that if money was not given to them, they will continue to burn the farms.
“Yesterday the bandits set some places on fire near the entrance to the town, but people teamed up and chased them away before putting off the fire. It happened less than a kilometre to Magami and the place was on the road. They are doing that to show us if money is not paid to them, they will continue to burn people’s farms.
“There are plans to collect money from community members and pay them. But before that is done, if you dare go to the farm, they will abduct you, burn your farm and demand for ransom. That is our current predicament.”
He lamented that although there were soldiers stationed in Magami town, residents’ lives depend on Almighty Allah because He is the only one that can protect them, adding “This is our problem every day and our worry everyday day.”