Residents of Gidan-goga village in the Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State are panicking as the deadline given to them by bandits to pay a levy of N20 million draws near.
A bandit kingpin, Bello Turji, had told the community that the N20 million must be paid on or before Sunday this week.
He threatened to attack the village if the money was not paid.
An indigene of the area, who begged for anonymity for security reasons, told City Round that he had fled to Gusau town for fear of Turji’s wrath.
The resident, who said he left with his family, explained that he had no money to contribute towards the payment of the levy being gathered by the villagers.
“I was asked to contribute N25,000 for the payment of the levy, and I tried my best to meet up with the demand, but I could not due to economic hardship.”
“So, I decided to leave the village because I know what will happen if the N20 million levy imposed by Turji is not paid on the given date,” he said.
Another resident of the village, who gave his name as Musa Sani, also told our correspondent that the community only recently paid N15 million in levy to another group of bandits different from Turji’s camp.
Sani lamented that “it might be difficult for us this time around to raise another amount of money to meet Turji’s demand.”
He told City Round that many people, particularly women and children, had since fled the village.
“Many people have run away, and I don’t think those that are still in the village can pay the N20 million levy this coming Sunday.”
When asked by City Round if the villagers had reported the matter to the security agents, Sani said there was no need to report because the police and the military were aware of the villagers’ predicament.
“They are aware of what is going on in the village.” So what is the essence of reporting the issue to them since they know what is happening? he said.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the state police command, SP Mohammed Shehu, said, “The command did not receive a report on the issue.” However, the police are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of the people of the state.
“We urge the public to promptly report such a security threat to the police and other security agencies for quick response.”