Bandit Leader, Turji, Detains Five Zamfara Residents After Collecting N10.5 Million “protection Levy”

By Damilare Adeleye

A banditry kingpin, Bello Turji, has reportedly detained five residents of Moriki town in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State after they delivered N10.5 million “Protection Levy”.

According to Daily Trust, the bandits' leader had slammed N20 million “Protection Levy” on the farming community, which is located 33km along Kaura Namoda-Shinkafi Road.

It was learnt that he had given the farmers two weeks to raise and deliver the money to guarantee them passage to their farms without intimidation.

Moriki community which has reportedly been recording abductions and deadly raids, is an emirate and is the biggest town after Zurmi, the headquarters of the local government area.

Speaking to the press on their ordeal, the residents said that Turji had intensified attacks on Moriki and other neighbouring communities since the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) raid on his residence near Fakai village in the neighbouring Shinkafi Local Government Area in September.

A resident identified as Sani Moriki said the community came up with an idea that every household must pay N6,500 to raise the N20 million for onward delivery before the deadline.

“We were able to raise N10.6 million as some community members defaulted. We used N100,000 to buy them packs of cigarettes, loaves of bread, soft drinks and recharge cards as they instructed.

“Seven members of the community were mobilised and dispatched to deliver the money at an agreed spot near Kasayawa, a community located 1km east of Moriki town. After the delivery team arrived at the location, 17 Turji’s boys rode to the spot and asked for the money and other items.

“However, when Turji’s attention was drawn to the fact that the money brought was N10.5 million; not N20 million as agreed, he became angry and ordered his boys to hold five of the delivery team. He asked them to take the residents to one of his camps in Jirari forest straddling Zurmi and Shinkafi local government areas, even though two of them escaped and arrived home this morning.

“We are now put on edge and we have started making efforts to reach out to him that we will deliver the balance of N10 million to him. We are in a serious trouble as a people. ’’