Residents of Bura community in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State have raised the alarm over the influx of bandits to the area and the burden of paying ransom to secure the freedom of kidnapped persons.
Members of the community said they have so far paid over N72 million to the bandits. That is not all. According to them, the ransom were paid to gang members in Zamfara for the release of persons abducted in Bauchi.
Mamuda Hassan Tabla, Chairman, Ningi LGA, disclosed this while speaking with journalists in Bauchi. He added that there was an influx of strangers from Zamfara State in the area whose presence has resulted in increasing kidnap of the people.
“We received complaints from farmers’ associations from Burra communities about the influx of strangers from Zamfara State, numbering about 5,000 households.
“They settled in the bush; they are cutting trees and they are farming in the area. They even built Jumma’at Mosque (there).
“After they settled there, the communities witnessed a series of abductions of their people and if a person was abducted, they would ask him to take ransom to Zamfara. Within the last one year, the communities said they paid over N72 million as ransom,” Tabla alleged.
He said that though the problem started in the area as far back as 2021, the chairman informed that his administration investigated it and reported it to the state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
According to him, the governor had since taken action in collaboration with security agencies, informing them that fighter jets were deployed in the Lame Burra Game Reserve to deal with criminals hibernating there.
Tabla said that “when we received the report and investigated the matter, which the present administration inherited because we understood that people from other states started settling in the bush since 2012, we discovered that a series of kidnappings is taking place even in Ningi town.
“I reported the matter and their complaints to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State Senator Bala Mohammed, who sat with us three times on security issues in our area.
“He took urgent action to address the problem, he sent fighter Jets that ransacked the bush and cleared criminals from Lame Burra game reserve.”
He informed that with the deployment of security personnel on the directive of Governor Mohammed and recruitment of hunters and vigilantes to protect the people, banditry had reduced in the area.
“The governor deployed security personnel to protect the people and we recruited hunters and vigilantes as part of efforts to protect the lives and properties of our citizens which reduced the activities of bandits in our area,” the chairman said.
He commended Governor Mohammed for his prompt response on issues relating to the security and well-being of the society, “especially the laudable developmental projects that have direct bearing on the lives of people being executed by his government”.