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Regional News of Thursday, 16 December 2021

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

Niger asks villagers not to pay taxes to bandits

File photo to illustrate the story File photo to illustrate the story

The Niger state government yesterday told villagers whose communities have been ravaged by bandits not to pay levies and taxes to the gunmen before harvesting their crops

It was learnt that bandits, who are now in control of many communities especially in Mashegu and Munya Local Government Areas are demanding levies and taxes ranging from N5 million to N10 million before they will allow the villagers to harvest their crops.

It is already the season for the harvest of yams, millet, beans and sorghum in many of these villages.

However, the Niger state government, which claimed it is aware of the demands of the bandits directed the villagers not to pay any tax to the bandits.

The Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy affairs and Internal Security, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, while reacting to the threat told newsmen that the villagers have been directed “to ignore the criminal threat and go ahead to harvest their farm produce.”

Umar confirmed that “some criminal elements in Rumbun Giwa in Mashegu Local Government Area of the state recently wrote under the name Kungiyan Manuma ordering all farmers to pay some specific levies and taxes before they can access their farms to harvest their farm produce” adding that “the state government is alive to its responsibilities and has put modalities in place to ensure that those behind the threat are apprehended and brought to book.

“These criminal are trying to extort the farmers, communities should support the security agencies, we are doing everything to ensure that criminals don’t have a space in our community,” he said.

Umar noted that government is aware that “God has blessed our farmers with bumper harvest this cropping season” and such is determined to support them at whatever cost to harvest their crops.

The commissioner, however, claimed that some unpatriotic people are fuelling insecurity and crisis in the state, stressing that government was up to its responsibility.

Umar therefore, urge communities to become more resilient in order to frustrate bandit activities by defying their command across the State.