Aside from occupying communities in Niger State’s Shiroro Local Government Area, Boko Haram insurgents generate income by levying VAT and income taxes on residents, according to a police source.
Niger has been fighting the Boko Haram insurgency for many years, with some attacks in Shiroro, which houses one of Nigeria’s electric dams.
Governor Sani Bello announced on Monday that Boko Haram insurgents had displaced many residents in the Munya and Shiroro local government areas.
Over 3,000 people, he claims, have been displaced by bandits and Boko Haram elements in the surrounding areas.
“There are some other communities that we believe are safe,” the governor said, “but the vast majority of them will have to remain here because their villages and towns have been taken over by Boko Haram elements.”
“I just heard they have already placed their flag in Kauri, which means they have taken over the territory,” he said, fearing they will march on Abuja, which shares a border with Niger, soon.
The police source who fled Shiroro also confirmed the governor’s confirmation, telling The Gazette that the community, Awasha, Chiri, and many others were under the control of Boko Haram insurgents, who also control trades.
Although many believe it is funded by kidnapping for ransom and looting local communities, a police source stated that it is funded through taxation.
According to him, the insurgents now levy taxes on local farmers and fishermen who fish in the Shiroro lake, and residents are required to pay VAT on local transactions.
Residents go farming for the insurgents in addition to paying taxes.
Mohammed Yerima, a spokesman for the army, told The Gazette that he was unaware of the development.
Wasiu Abiodun, the state police spokesman, told The Gazette over the phone that he would investigate the situation.
“Let me double-check and get back to you,” he said.
Insurgents have occupied dozens of villages around Lake Chad in recent years, generating revenue from the residents.
According to reports, a faction of the group, ISWAP, established state-like structures in the Borno local government areas of Abadam, Kukawa, Guzamala, Marte, and Monguno.