At least N19 million and a canoe have been paid as protection levies by 14 different villages in the Anka area of Zamfara State to terrorists who operate between Anka and Bukkuyum.
According to Yusuf Anka, a local reporter for PREMIUM TIMES, many different parts of Anka chipped in to pay the protection cost the militants demanded.
According to him, the terorrists levied the tax on the locals right before the rains began.
He said that the terrorists had asked for the protection fee so that locals may prepare their fields for spring planting.
Mr. Anka claimed that the communities’ members had to save up the money in order to protect themselves from terrorist attacks when they were at work on their fields or in their villages.
Anka ruled over all of the communities, and now they need to pool their resources to ensure their safety. Two months after some municipalities made their payments, others are just now making theirs. Mr. Anka, who has done significant research on terrorism in the North-west, including the recent documentary for BBC Africa Eye, Titled “The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara,” revealed that the total amount paid had reached N19 million and a canoe.
He revealed that the Yar Sabaya community had acquired the canoe. Two rivers plus a few smaller ones surround the city of Anka.
“The bandits demanded that the various communities pool their resources so that they may go about their farming activities without being attacked. Mr. Anka further explained, “This is not the first time that they have been required to pay these levies.”
Jargaba N1.6m, Birnin doki N1m, Tangaram N1.5m (and later added the sum of N2.5m), Jarkuka N1.5m, Tuntuja N500,000, Tsafta N1m, Tudun magaji N2m, Kadaddaba N820,000, Tudun kudaku N950,000, Gargam N1m, Kwanar Maje N900,000, Yar tumaki N1m, Bawar
A respected member of the Anka community, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, confirmed that locals were aware of the protection fees levied by the terrorists.
“It’s common knowledge among the citizens of Anka that the bandits prey upon helpless villagers. They would keep asking for similar levies so that the locals could travel to their farms during the wet season, he said.
But he was concerned that the terrorists would still cause harm to the locals, especially during harvest.
Although protection levies might seem like a good idea, terrorists might still assault farmers as they bring in their harvest and demand a cut. But then, there’s no point in asking locals not to give the terrorists what they want, he argued.
The state of Zamfara in Nigeria’s North-West is one of the most dangerous places in the country.
Terror gangs across the region are responsible for crimes such as cattle rustling, kidnapping for ransom, and armed robbery. The actions of these terrorist organisations have resulted in the deaths of thousands and the forced relocation of many more.
Mohammed Shehu, the police spokesman for Zamfara State, did not return calls or texts on the villages’ payments for security.