Bandits Levy Benue Community N20m

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Bandits operating in rural communities have taxed Torough community of Ukum Local Government Area in Benue State N20 million.

According to Daily Trust reports, members of the community, who are mostly farmers, had reportedly shared the amount among themselves and commenced payment.
Some members of the community told journalists in Makurdi that they were complying for fear of losing their lives because part of their livestock had already been seized by the militia.

Others have allegedly contacted their relatives in the cities discreetly to send the money so they can pay on time, especially as they are too afraid to report the matter to any security outfit.

They said the militia was very deadly and powerful in the Sankera axis, which comprised three local government areas of Ukum, Logo and Kastina-Ala, hence daring them could spell doom for the community.

“The whole of three local governments in Sankera are affected by this madness. These boys have a very strong communication network for their business. They monitor everything.

“When the news about the N20 million came to us, nobody dared to report to security agencies. You and your family will be eliminated in broad daylight. We are in bondage. The security operatives too are helpless.

“We are paying the sum of N50,000 levied each household. Some traditional compounds that have many households are levied N1million,” one of the residents said.

When contacted, the police public relations officer in the state, SP Catherine Anene, denied knowledge of any such matter, saying if it happened, it was not reported to the command.

Also, Chief Joseph Har, the special adviser to the governor on internal security, told journalists that bandits were on the run in the state and could not have the luxury of collecting tax from the villagers.

Victor Iorzaa, the chairman of Ukum Local Government, however, confirmed the development to journalists on telephone on Tuesday.

He said, “It is true. I have reported the matter to the police and the State Security Council. The person behind it is Full Fire, who connived with armed herders recently to attack Tiv people. He has been working with invaders. He is a bandit.”

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