It has been credibly reported that farmers and other inhabitants of Damboa, a town in Borno State, have begun paying Zakat (taxes) to the feared militants of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP)
Zakat is an Islamic finance phrase that refers to the responsibility that a person has to pay a particular amount of his or her money to charitable organizations on a yearly basis, according to Islamic law. Zakat is a religious obligation for Muslims, and it is seen as a form of devotion by many.
In the Damboa axis, a senior state government official informed our reporter that many farms are under the hands of ISWAP militants, according to the source.
After harvesting their product, “the terrorists allow the villagers to farm, and they collect what they termed zakat (an yearly alms tax or poor rate) from each farmer,” he said.
According to the source, the farmers were not opposed to the agreement in any way.
People were not even allowed to travel to their fields when Boko Haram under Shekau invaded the region, he said. “So, when ISWAP somehow gained control of the situation, they stated people could go to their farms but they would have to pay tax and zakat.”
According to a farmer who identified himself as Musa Mrusha and informed our reporter that many of the people have said that they do not want the authorities to know what is going on.
“In the past, several Boko Haram militants have been responsible for the deaths of many farmers during harvest season.” But have you heard of anything like this this year?
“They came to me early last month when I was at the farm and informed me that when it comes time to harvest, they would have their parts, which I agreed to and will see that the promise is fulfilled,” Musa said.
According to Daily Trust, the ISWAP militants, who had previously established a strong presence in northern Borno, have lately increased their activity in the southern portion of the state.
The collection of “tolls” from cars and “taxes” from farmers has been taking place over the previous several months.
One of the passengers, Ismail, said that the terrorists do send drivers who are on errands to purchase certain items for them from Biu while on their way back to the airport.
There are checkpoints at Sabon Gari, Yemantan, Ruga and other minor checkpoints along the route. They are stationed at strategic locations from where they can view approaching cars from a long distance.
According to him, “they dress like soldiers, and anytime the cars see them, they would stop.”