Bandits leader, Bello Turji who is declared wanted by the federal government has ordered the detention of some villagers in Zamfara State.
The villagers were said to have been detained by Turji over the failure of their community to pay the full protection levy slammed on them within the required time frame.
Reports held that he had ordered the Moriki community in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State to pay the sum of N20 million as a protection fee within two weeks.
The money was in exchange for free access to the farm and other daily activities by the community members without fear of attack.
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To raise the amount, it was gathered that the community members decided to task themselves with N6500 per head but at the end of the day, they could only raise N10.6 million because some households declined.
Thereafter, the community mobilized seven members to deliver the amount they had raised at an agreed spot in Kasayawa.
It was gathered that seventeen loyalists of Turji came to the agreed meeting point to collect the money but when they discovered the amount was incomplete and the terrorist leader was notified, he ordered his boys to detain five out of the seven people that came to deliver the money at one of his camps in Jirari forest.
A resident told Daily Trust:
“After he imposed the levy we met at the community level to see what we could do to raise the said amount of money bearing in our minds the consequences of ignoring his demand.
“We came up with an idea that every household in the community must pay N6500 and if we add that we would get the N20 million for onward delivery before the deadline ends.
“We were able to raise N10.6 million as some community members defaulted. We used N100,000 to buy them packs of cigarette, loaves of bread, soft drinks and recharge cards as they instructed.
“Seven members of the community were mobilized and dispatched to deliver the money at an agreed spot near Kasayawa, a community located 1km east of Moriki town. After the delivery team arrived at the location, seventeen Turji’s boys rode to the spot and asked for the money and other items we bought for them.
“However, when Turji’s attention was drawn to the fact that the money brought was N10.5 million not N20 million as agreed he became angry and ordered his boys to hold five out seven members of the delivery team. He asked them to take the residents to one of his camps in Jirari forest straddling Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas. Even though two of them escaped and arrived home this morning.
“We are now put on edge and we have started making effort to reach out to him that we will deliver the balance of N10 million to him. We are in a serious trouble as a people.”
When contacted by the publication, the spokesman of the Zamfara State Police Command, SP Muhammad Shehu, said he would find out what had actually happened.