We paid N72m ransom last year —Bauchi villagers

BURRA communities in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, which has been devastated by incessant kidnapping and other forms of banditry, have claimed that in 2020, they paid over N72 million as ransom to kidnappers in order to secure the release of their kinsmen from captivity. 

The Chairman of Ningi Local Government Area of the state, Mamuda Hassan Tabla, who disclosing this while speaking with newsmen in Bauchi, lamented that the people of the area were now living in perpetual fear. 

The council chairman said the council had received complaints from farmers associations from Burra communities about the influx of strangers from Zamfara State, numbering about 5,000 households, that settled in the forest, the vast Lame/Burra Games reserves. 

He also said the council reliably gathered that the strangers had been felling trees and farming in the area, adding that they even built a mosque after they settled there, thereby becoming a threat to the natives. 

Mamuda Tabla said, “The communities witnessed series of abductions of their people. 

“Whenever a person is abducted, the bandits will ask the victim to take the ransom to Zamfara State and within the last one year, the communities said they paid over N72 million as ransom.” 

He also explained that “When we received the report, we decided to investigate the matter and discovered that the present administration inherited the problem. We noticed that people from other states started settling in the bush since 2012 with series of kidnappings taking place, even in Ningi town.” 

“We have reported the matter to the governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed. We held a meeting with the governor on three different occasions concerning the issue of security in our area. Gladly, his excellency took urgent action to address the situation by sending fighter Jets that ransacked the bush and cleared the criminals from Lame Burra game reserve,” the council chairman added. 

“The governor deployed security personnel to protect the people and also recruited hunters and vigilantes as part of efforts at protecting the lives and properties of our citizens which reduced the activities of banditry in our area,” he said. 

The chairman further said that the communities live in constant fear due to the activities of the bandits who kidnap their people and are gradually taking away their farms. According to him, the move was to leave the residents of the communities in abject poverty as they keep paying ransom to them and losing their farms. Mamuda Tabla also said that the council met with traditional rulers, security operatives and all relevant stakeholders, stressing that they are compiling the report of the activities of the bandits, after which it will be presented to the state government for necessary action. He commended the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed for his prompt response on issues that affects the security and well being of the society, especially the laudable development projects that has direct bearing to the people. 

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