REPORT | Defeated Boko Haram Now Collecting Taxes From Nigerians in Borno, Yobe
Terror groups in Borno, Yobe and other settlements around Lake Chad are currently operating quasi-administrative policies that include imposition of taxes on civilians in the territories they control, a new report by Reuters has revealed.
The news agency reported on Sunday that Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), a faction of Boko Haram, currently controls portions of land that stretch over 160 kilometres (100 miles) into Borno and Yobe States, two states at the centre of the insurgency in the North-east.
The report quoted Nigerian livestock farmers around the territories controlled by insurgents as saying that they are being taxed N2,500 per cow and N1,500 for smaller animals.
The terrorists also run slaughterhouses for the cattle, taking a cut for each animal, as well as from other activities like gathering firewood, Reuters gathered.
“If you are a herder, driver or trader, they won’t touch you – just follow their rules and regulations governing the territory,” a herder told Reuters under anonymity. “They don’t touch civilians, just security personnel.”
The Defence Headquarters did not categorically deny the claims that terrorists are levying taxes on Nigerians, but rejected the claim that they are holding territories.
“They are putting people under pressure wherever they can get them, I don’t think that is new,’ Defence spokesperson, John Agim, told Premium Times in a telephone conversation Monday morning.
“Boko Haram has been making life difficult for people wherever they pass through, but that does not mean they are holding territories.”
“We’re putting measures in place to correct that,” he added.
The report comes just as Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed told foreign journalists in the United States that President Muhammadu Buhari has defeated Boko Haram.
“When the government says Boko Haram is defeated, it is from the context of what it was when it came in and what we are today. People have forgotten that less than three or four years ago, people in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, could not sleep with their two eyes closed.
“That four years ago, the insurgents used to stroll into Abuja at will and no building was sacred to them. I mean they were so bold they attacked the force headquarters.
“They attacked the UN headquarters, they attacked newspapers head office, Nyanya Motor Park, was attacked twice and states and towns like Suleja, Kano, Sokoto, Kogi, Borno, were game for them. So, when we say we have defeated Boko Haram, it is precisely what we mean. Today, night life has returned to Maiduguri, weekly football leagues are being played in Maiduguri, schools have been reopened, roads have been reopened. It was a far cry from when we went in 2015 because between Bama and Maiduguri where we went to, there was no singular vehicle on the road” Mohammed said.
Mohammed also spoke on the economic policies of Buhari, saying the president can beat his chest that he has performed creditably.
He recalled that up till 2015, 20 out of the 27 local governments in Borno State were under the effective occupation of Boko Haram.
“When we entered Bama in 2015, it was as if we were either in Cairo, Algeria or any of these Arab countries because all the road signs were in Arabic. So, when we say we have defeated Boko Haram, it is precisely what we mean. Today, night life has returned to Maiduguri, weekly football leagues are being played in Maiduguri, schools have been reopened, roads have been reopened. It was a far cry from when we went in 2015 because between Bama and Maiduguri where we went to, there was no singular vehicle on the road”, he added.
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