SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 16 – A resident of Borno State has alleged that Boko Haram fighters killed scores of rice farmers in the state because they reported them to the Nigerian government after they forced them to pay a tax of N500,000.
On November 28, 2020, At least 110 people were killed in a weekend attack on farm workers in Zarbamari community in Borno State. Many of them were beheaded. The dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for this dastardly act, accusing the villagers of reporting them to the Nigerian military.
However, during a recent edition of the Good Citizen Radio Show on Inspiration FM, a resident of Maiduguri, simply known as Musa, revealed that a tax levied on local residents of remote communities in Borno State by the Boko Haram is at the root of the matter.
Sponsored by Sustainability Consulting firm, CSR – in- Action and Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation, a grant making non-profit organization, and hosted by renowned sustainability advocate and consultant, Bekeme Masade Olowola, the Good Citizen show features discussions on pertinent public issues related to corporate citizenship in Nigeria.
“Well, the truth is especially about the Zabarmari and the Sukoshi area, it is actually at almost the outskirt of the state, the people there are actually living in fear. To an extent they do pay taxes to those bandits,” said Musa, who called in to the programme from Maiduguri.
According to the resident, who said he had lived in Maiduguri for over 26 years, Boko Haram fighters usually approached farming communities to demand tax over their produce, threatening to come back and kill them if they told the government. A week before the incidence, Boko Haram had received N500,000 from the villagers, after which they resolved to call on the Nigerian government for help. They reported to the government hoping that the military would protect them.
Musa then went into the gory details of how the insurgents rounded up several villagers and killed them. According to him, armed masked men came a week later and told the villagers they had a message for them from their leader. They rounded up as many people as they could and took them to the rice field where they were killed. He believed 200 people were rounded up and up to 153 were killed
“So after taking them, deleting them two by two, batch by batch, at a point they had people streaming on media. After about 130 people died that was when they started panicking,” Musa continued. He further revealed that some are still missing, especially those who escaped during the massacre. He hinted that it would be difficult for those still missing to call for help because mobile phone signals are poor on the outskirts.
“Towards the outskirt of the state there isn’t network there. So maybe it because it does not have network that is why they took then to the outskirt, that is one, two is the people who were able to escape said it lasted for about an hour.”
Musa urged Nigerians to speak up more about the atrocities going on in the region to generate awareness so that government will be more moved to help them.
“The Best thing Nigerians can do for us is to really create this awareness, the thing is we are all being shut up we cannot speak up and we cannot speak out. The whole country can create awareness and speak for us and am sure our voices will be heard.”