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Bandits now collecting taxes from farmers in President Buhari’s home state

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Bandits in some parts of Katsina State are currently running quasi-administrative policies that include the imposition of taxes on farmers.

Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The bandits have been taxing farmers in Danmusa and Batsari Local Government Areas.

Mostly affected villages are Gurzar-Kuka, Mara, Dunya, Batsarin-Alhaji, Nahuta, Kasai, Dangeza, Dantudu and other villages that are close to forests.

The farmers in these villages are asked to pay to access their farms or forced to work on the farms of the criminals.

One of the affected farmers, Muhammed Auwal, 55, in Nahuta village said from the last farming season, farmers in his village were asked to pay tax to bandits to access their farms but that didn’t protect them from attacks by the bandits.

“They’d seize our cattle or motorbikes. This season, they asked our neighbouring village, Kasai, to contribute money and buy fertilizer for them which they did.

“Last season, every household in Nahuta had to pay N1,000 and we contributed more than N2 million as tax for the bandits which we delivered to them before they allowed us to farm. But this season, we’re lucky because they didn’t ask for tax from us maybe because soldiers have been deployed to our community. But villages surrounding us are still battling with these insecurity issues.”

Another farmer , Salisu, 45, from Tashar Modibbo said he could only cultivate seven out of the 20 acres of his farmland due to insecurity in his village.

“Even this farming season we were asked to pay N2,000 as tax for everyone who has cattle-ridge tool and I have one, so I paid N2,000 last year and this farming season.

“We contributed at least N200,000 to them. Once we fail to pay the tax; they would not allow us to farm and they can still confiscate your motorbike, mobile phone or money. No one can dare say he won’t pay the tax. We don’t inform authorities for fear of consequences,’’ he added.

Also speaking, Alhaji Sa’adu Nuhu Batsari, 65, a large-scale farmer said every household in Batsarin-Alhaji had to pay N500 to the bandits from the last farming season.

He added that the bandits also demanded that the villagers supply them with fertilizer, noting that villagers had to tax themselves to purchase the fertilizer.

“Once you’re on the farm these people would come and abduct, kill or harass you. I abandoned my farms that are deep inside the bush and now work on the one close to town that is only two hectares. The constant threat stopped me from going to the farm.”

Audu Sada, a farmer in Gurzar-Kuka village, related how his brother recently donated N20,000 as the balance of N200,000 earlier demanded by bandits as tax before they allowed them to access their farms and escape from being kidnapped.

“Recently, they came here in broad daylight wielding AK47 rifles, asking us to contribute N200,000 before we would access our farms. They promised that when we paid the money they wouldn’t kidnap anybody among us. My elder brother had personally paid N20,000 as our contribution,” he said.

“That’s the only option we have because our communities have been forgotten by the government. The truth is that the bandits have taken over power here. Because since they came and killed about seven people last year, we’ve not witnessed the presence of police officers in our villages. Even when we reported to Danmusa Divisional Office they’d not dare coming here”

In Kurechi village of Dutsin-Ma local government, farmers are compelled to pay taxes to Habibu, the leader of the bandits in the area.

It was gathered that two farmers were shot by bandits in the village for failure to pay Habibu tax for them to access their farms. One of the victims died from gunshot wounds while the other is still receiving treatment.

It was further gathered that Habibu had been forcing farmers to pay money ranging from N50,000 to N100,000 before they could access their farms or face his wrath of kidnapping or killing his victims.

According to our source in the village who pleaded anonymity, the bandit leader, who is well known to them, had earlier promised not to allow any farmer to access his farm for the whole of this season in Kurechi, Sana’wa, Jan-ruwa and other communities within.

“Recently bandits under Habibu’s command came here and shot two farmers. One had died while the other is still receiving treatment,” the source recalled. 

He added, “We know him very well. There’s a time the vigilante conducted a house-to-house search for guns from herdsmen and AK47 rifles were recovered from his father and elder brother and that led to their execution by the vigilante.

“That’s how that little boy, Habibu, escaped into the bush and joined the bandits. And all of a sudden, he had metamorphosed into a gang leader and began to terrorize our communities. He’d even promised not to allow anybody to go to the farm this year.

“Many farmers are paying him what he demanded from them out of fear for their lives. If you dare them, you’ll die because security operatives don’t come here to our aid.”

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Man puts self up for sale in Kano

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Aliyu Na Idris, a 26-year-old man from Kaduna State, has become a social media sensation for putting himself up for sale in Kano.

Idris, who claimed to be a tailor, has been roaming the streets of Kano State carrying a placard that reads “This man is for sale for N20 million.”

It was gathered that the young man has been on the streets for five days looking for who will buy him.

He said he had decided to sell himself due to hardship.

He said his family was aware that he had offered himself for sale, adding that he had initially presented himself for sale in Kaduna but when he could not get a serious buyer, he decided to try Kano State with the hope that someone will pay the required price.

“Even though many people have offered me various prices of N10m, N5m and N300,000 in Kano, I refused because the amount is less than what I expected,” he said.

The young man said he was operating a tailoring business which failed due to the financial crisis and as such, he lost his customers and became financially handicapped.

He explained that he had no money to survive, not to talk of investing in another business, hence, he decided to present himself for sale at N20m only.

When asked what he intends to do with the money, he said, “I will give my parents N10m; I will give N5m as tax to the state where I was bought, the person who helped in advertising me will be rewarded with N2m while the remaining N3m will be kept for me under the care of the person who buys me for my daily upkeep.”

He further stated that he knows that he would lose his freedom after being purchased but he’s not worried as he has made up his mind to do the bidding of his master.

He said if nobody buys him in Kano, he would move to another state to sell himself.

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NCC alerts Nigerians to deadly FluBot malware targeting bank accounts

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday raised the alarm about what it described as an extremely damaging malware called “FluBot” which attacks Android mobile banking applications.

According to the NCC, Flubot “impersonates Android mobile banking applications to draw fake web view on targeted applications and its goal transcends stealing personal data and essentially targets stealing of credit card details or online banking credentials.”

Malware is a generic word used to describe a virus or software designed specifically to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to a computer system.

“According to the information received today (Thursday), October 21, 2021, from the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), Flubot targets Androids with fake security updates and App installations,” NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde, said in a statement issued yesterday.

NCC explained that FluBot “is circulated through SMS and can snoop on incoming notifications, initiate calls, read or write SMSes, and transmit the victim’s contact list to its control centre.”
NCC said the malware “attacks Android devices by pretending to be FedEx, DHL, Correos, and Chrome applications,” and compels unsuspecting users to alter the accessibility configurations on their devices to maintain continuous presence on devices.

The statement adds: “The new malware undermines the security of devices by copying fake login screens of prominent banks, and the moment the users enter their login details on the fake pages, their data is harvested and transmitted to the malware operators’ control point from where the data is exploited by intercepting banking-related One Time Passwords (OTPs) and replacing the default SMS app on the targeted Android device.

“Consequently, it secures admittance into the device through SMS and proceeds to transmit similar messages to other contacts that may be on the device it has attacked enticing them into downloading the fake app.
“It suffices to say that, when Flubot infects a device, it can result in incalculable financial losses.
“Additionally, the malware creates a backdoor which grants access to the user’s device, thus enabling the invader or attacker to perform other criminal actions, including launching other variants of malware.”
The NCC subsequently issued an advisory to protect telecoms consumers from falling victim.

The guidelines listed by the commission are: “Do not click on the link if you receive a suspicious text message, and do not install any app or security update the page asks you to install; use updated antivirus software that detects and prevents malware infections; apply critical patches to the system and application; use strong passwords and enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) over logins and back up your data regularly.”
Others are: “If you have been affected by this campaign, you should reset your device to factory mode as soon as possible. This will delete any data on your phone, including personal data; do not restore from backups created after installing the app; you will also need to change the passwords to all of your online accounts, with urgency, around your online bank accounts; If you have concerns that your accounts may have been accessed by unauthorised people, contact your bank immediately.”

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Gunmen attack Abolongo correctional facility in Oyo, set prisoners free

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Suspected gunmen have attacked one of the facilities of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), in Oyo State.

It was gathered that the facility, christened Abolongo correctional facility was attacked by the gunmen Friday evening.

It was further gathered that the gunmen set all the prisoners at the facility free during the attack.

The attackers were said to have stormed the facility at about 10pm on Friday.

The attackers used grenades to gain access and set prisoners free.

Spokesman for the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) in the state, Olanrewaju Anjorin confirmed the attack on Saturday.

Anjorin said that the senior officers of the agency were on their way to assess the level of damage.

He said, “Yes. It has been confirmed that the attack actually happened.

“And right now, the comptroller of Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) and other top officers are assessing the situation.

“But, I can confirm to you that the incident actually happened”.

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