ISWAP runs parallel govt in Borno, collects taxes

ISWAP fighters 2

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Terrorists of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) are running a parallel structure of governance in Borno state, as they now collect taxes from the hapless farmers.

Despite official lies that no territory of Nigeria is under Boko Haram or ISWAP control, it has been found that the terrorists exercise some control in some parts.

These include the Damboa axis, south of Borno, where they levy their own taxes, disguised as Zakat.

Zakat means the giving of alms in Islam, usually like the Christian tithe. It is compulsory for Muslims and is regarded as one of the five pillars of faith.

Why the terrorists chose to call the levy Zakat, was unclear.

They also collect tolls from commercial drivers at checkpoints manned by their fighters.

A top state government official told Daily Trust that many farmers are living under the control of ISWAP fighters in the Damboa axis.

“The terrorists allow the locals to farm and they collect what they called zakat (an annual alms tax or poor rate) from every farmer after they harvest their produce,” he said.

The source claimed that the farmers were not averse to the arrangement.

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“When Boko Haram under Shekau infested these areas, they don’t even allow people to go to their farms; so, when ISWAP somehow took over, they said people can go to their farms but must pay tax and also pay zakat,” he said.

A farmer, who gave his name as Musa Mrusha, said that many of the locals said they don’t want authorities to know.

“In the past, many Boko Haram fighters have killed many farmers during harvest time like this. But have you heard of such this year?

“Early last month they came and told me while I was at the farm that when it is time to harvest, they have their portions which I agreed and fulfil the promised,” Musa said.

Daily Trust reported that the ISWAP fighters, who hitherto had a firm root in northern Borno, have recently up their game in the southern part of the state.

They have in the last few months been collecting “tolls” from commercial drivers and “taxes” from farmers.

Another passenger, Ismail, said the terrorists do send drivers plying the road on errands to buy some commodities for them from Biu while coming back.

“They have a checkpoint at Sabon Gari, Yemantan area, Ruga and smaller ones along the road. They are in strategic places where they can see vehicles from far away.

“They dress like soldiers and whenever the drivers see them, they would stop,” he said.

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