By Unini Chioma
Residents of 65 communities in Niger State have resorted to negotiating and signing a peace deal with Boko Haram to avoid future raids by the insurgents, FIJ reports.
This development came few days after the terror group displaced over 5,000 villagers from their ancestral homes in Shiroro and Munya local councils.
Abubakar Bello, the Governor of Niger State had admitted that Boko Haram had hoisted its flag after taken over many communities in the state.
Although Muhammad Yerima, the Nigerian Army spokesman, said he was unaware of Boko Haram’s incursion into Niger State, Wasiu Abiodun, the police spokesperson in the state, said he could not dispute Governor Bello’s claim about the influx of the terrorist group into the state.
“The executive governor is the chief security officer of the state. Are you expecting the police to dispute or go against the pronouncement of the executive governor?” Abiodun asked a CNN reporter.
However, FIJ has gathered that communities in Gurmana, Manta, Bassa and Kukoki distrists in Shiroro area of the state have negotiated with the terrorists for a peace deal after reaching an agreement to pay certain amounts of money in each community.
The communities have also purchased at least six Honda motorcycles worth N500,000 for the terrorists, to pacify them.
“This is what most of the communities are resorting to. By my records now, communities that have signed the peace deal with the terrorists are more than 40,” said Yusuf Sani, the co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youth, while confirming the incidents to FIJ.
“While some communities have already sealed up deals for ceasefire with the terrorists and are currently reaping ithe benefits, others are on the verge of finalising theirs.
“The affected victims have been forced to find solutions for themselves within since the much-anticipated intervention from government is not forthcoming.”
Sani also said the communities have paid not less than N20 million to sign the peace deal with the terrorists. He added that although, the negotiation was oral, more communities are planning to enroll for the peace deal.
Mary Joel Merje, the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State government, did not answer multiple calls from FIJ. She also did not respond to our request for comments on the issue.
See the list of the villages below:
(1) BASSA/KUKOKI WARD
(2) GURMANA WARD
Bakin Kogi (Lagbe)
Unguwan Turakin Kokki
(3) MANTA WARD
(Culled from Foundation for Investigative Journalism)