Terrorists have reportedly demanded the payment of N16 million as levies from Yanbuki and Dada villages in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
A resident, Mohammed Sani, said that the people of Yanbuki were asked to pay N10m, while those in Dada would pay N6m.
Sani said each of the community members had been mandated to pay the money within two weeks as negotiated with the terrorists during a reconciliation meeting between the bandits and community leaders.
He said, “We had a meeting with the bandit leaders and we agreed to pay the amount because we had no other alternative.
“We decided to tax ourselves based on the status of each of the community members and some people have started paying their own.
“We will try as much as we can to make sure that the money is complete before the deadline to avoid bandit attacks.”
He lamented that the communities would not be completely free from the hoodlums even after meeting the demand, adding that the bandits would still return whenever they needed money.
He maintained that the bandits had, on several occasions, attacked the two communities.
“They are currently holding 35 people from Yanbuki community,” he added.
Sani said the terrorists had demanded a ransom for the 35 victims, aside from the N16m levy.
The state Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, could not be reached as he did not take his calls which rang out several times.
Dosara, however, told BBC Hausa Service that the Zamfara State Government was not aware of the levy.
He said, “We are aware of the condition of the people of Yanbuki, especially considering their proximity to the camp of the bandits. The state police command has even deployed security personnel in the area.
“But we are not aware that they were asked to pay a fine of N10m. We cannot confirm the substance of the claim now until we investigate it.