Members of the Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, have reportedly started collecting Zakat (taxes) from farmers and residents of Damboa in Borno State.
Naija News understands that Zakat is a mandatory Islamic obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes.
It was gathered that many farmers now live under the control of the dreaded terrorists group 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,” a top government official told Daily Trust.
He added that “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.”
Also speaking on the arrangement, a farmer identified as Musa Mrusha stated that many farmers do not want government officials to know, giving an hint that they are comfortable with the arrangement.
Musa said: “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.”
Reports have emerged that the ISWAP fighters are now expanding their influence from the Northern parts of Borno down to the Southern parts with the collection of taxes from farmers and drivers they also send on logistics errands.
“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.
This online newspaper reports that the terrorists group have in recent times ramped up its activities in Borno following the successful suppression of rivals, Boko Haram.
Senator Ali Ndume (APC-Borno South) had on Sunday raised an alarm over the activities of ISWAP.
According to the lawmaker, the terrorists group is currently regrouping in the Lake Chad axis of Borno after massive and continuous attack on them by the Nigerian military.