Through telephone text messages, terrorists are demanding money in hundreds of thousands from residents of Gabtu village in Gyalenge ward, Gummi Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria.
The messages, written in Hausa language, are sent to selected individuals demanding that money be sent to a particular bank account.
One of such messages sent to Alhaji Abu, a resident of Gabtu, reads in part: “Alhaji Abu we need N200,000 money from you to be credited between today and Friday. Note that, we swear to God that if you dare refuse to send the said amount, each N50,000 will be increased to N1 Million once we kidnap you.”
In the short message (SMS), the terrorist who sent the text on behalf of the group confirmed that, “already, Alhaji Mummuni has paid us, Alhaji Alu Na’ane has also paid, Kabiru Meshago also paid us; It remains you to make your pay. We intend to send to all for similar demand. You are a living witness to what we did to your friend Ummaru Dalle- we did what we want with him.
“We will send to you our account number if you can send the money. If otherwise, you leave it. We shall meet you,” the text concluded.
As promised, the subsequent text message came with bank account details: United Bank Africa, with account number; 229852185 and account name; Idris Sani.
It is not clear which terror group sent the threat message, whether it is the Tabarga terrorist camp known to residents or from an uknown terror camp located at Guyuddu forest camp that shares a border with a place called Gonar Dodo.
According to residents, the two camps have threatened the peace of communities in the LGA such as Gambanda-Godabe, Saran Gumawa, Dangwai, Kwamma, Gamo, Wawan Icce, Gambandar Magiro, Gambandar Danjafa, Gabtu, Gyalenge, Illela-Auwal, Gidan-Bita Kagara, Jandutsi, and Malankara.
HumAngle spoke with Abubakar Alkali, a retired banker who is the present Head of Department of Banking and Finance, Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Mafara in Zamfara State. “Under the purview of banker-customer relationship, the bank has no right to disclose what is in the customer’s bank account within the purview of ‘Duty of Secrecy’ law.”
Also, Sani Abubakar Garba, a lecturer with the Department of Banking and Finance in the same polytechnic, added that “note that anybody can deposit or credit money at specified limit via whatever means with the bank without question, and it cannot challenge the source of the money credited.”
This, he said, created the opportunity for the terrorists to exploit the banking system.
However, “there are only four ways of addressing terrorist group’s method of illegal financial dealings: Court order, interest of the Bank’s management, consent of the customer himself and corporate account signatories.”
All efforts made to reach the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Zamfara State Police Command, SP Muhammed Shehu, proved abortive as he did not pick his calls or respond to a text message.
Gabtu village has suffered from several attacks by terrorists operating from Tabarga forest camp, about 15 kilometers away from the village. It shares a border with Tambuwal LGA of Sokoto State, also in northwestern Nigeria.
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