Foreign Bandits Invade, Take over Sokoto Community, Tax Residents
Nigeria’s porous borders has been identified as one of the reasons for the continued menace of terrorist organisations like Boko haram, armed herdsmen and bandits especially in the Northern part of the country like Borno, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Residents of the Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State raised an alarm that the community has been taken over by armed bandits who have resorted to taxing the residents of the community who are forced to pay to stay alive.
According to the residents, the bandits had been former members of a security outfit tasked with the protection of the community from bandits and kidnappers.
The ex-security men have however resorted to moving around the community, declaring their own laws and punishing defaulters.
According to a resident who pleaded anonymity;
“The bandits are members of the vigilance group that had helped us to flush out kidnappers from their base in Balle forest, in the Gudu Local Government Area of the state.”
The source added that the group had started recruiting youths and training them in criminal activities.
Another source confirmed the situation and revealed further that residents were afraid to challenge the rogue unit for fear of being attacked.
“They initially came to our rescue against kidnappers only to turn against us by forcefully collecting levies on our sheep and cows. Most worrisome is their forceful recruitment of our youths and teaching them different religious doctrines.
They are operating freely, scaring residents, without being challenged. They are going from one community to another.” The source alleged
The Sokoto State police command however denied the claims and urged citizens to go about their normal activities without fear while dismissing any possible threat to the peace of the state.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Cordelia Nwawe, advised the people to go about their lawful business and desist from causing panic.
She said the state Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mani, as well as the DCP in charge of Operations, Baba Isa, visited the community on Friday to assess the situation.
“There is nothing like bandits and there is no need for people to be scared. The CP and his deputy in charge of operations went and saved the situation. There is no need for people to be apprehensive because whatever happened to Niger Republic has nothing to do with Nigeria. Those people are not operating in Nigeria but in Niger Republic. Tangaza is a boundary community. Even though people alleged that they saw strange people in the area with camels, donkeys and wives, it is not in Nigeria.” She said.