These are not the best of times for villages in Katsina State and most states across the north east and north west of Nigeria if the news from the state is any thing to go by.
Reports say several villages especially those in the fringes of Katsina State are allegedly paying bandits as much as one million naira to avoid attacks and kidnapping.
One of such villages is Akata village in Batsari local government area of the state.
Daily Trust, citing sources familiar with the incident, reports that the villagers have started levying each community member N1,500 so as to meet up with the demand.
The confrontation with the attackers was said to have started about two weeks ago when bandits stormed the village and rustled some animals.
But some villagers who chased after the attackers recovered the animals from one of the bandits and handed him over to soldiers. In response, the bandits asked the villagers to raise N1million to evade an imminent attack. However, following negotiations the amount was reportedly reduced to N700,000 and subsequently spread across the residents, a source said. When contacted over the issue, the spokesperson for the Katsina state police command said the police were investigating the issue.
Also, Tsauwa and Dankar villages in Batsari, which suffered heavy casualties few days ago when bandits killed over 30 and abducted many. Villagers say they have been told to pay similar money they say is “security money” if they do not want to be attacked.
These are contiguous villages bordering Niger Republic. There’s little or no security presence in these villages, villagers say.
Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and the current governor of the state was former speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives. Both are of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.