By Charles Nwabardi
Residents of Burra community in Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State which has been devastated by incessant kidnapping and other forms of banditry have alleged that in the year 2020, they paid over N72 million as ransom to kidnappers in order to secure the release of their kinsmen in captivity.
The disclosure was made by the Executive Chairman of Ningi Local Government, Mamuda Hassan Tabla while speaking with newsmen in Bauchi lamenting that the people of the area are now living in perpetual fear every day.
The chairman said that the council had received complaints from Farmers’ Associations from Burra communities about the influx of strangers from Zamfara State, numbering about 5,000 households that settled in the bush; the vast Lame/Burra Games reserves.
He also said that  the council reliably gathered that the strangers have been cutting trees and farming in the area, adding that they even built a mosque and after that their settling has become a threat to the natives.
Mamuda Tabla said that “The communities witnessed series of abduction of their people. Whenever a person is abducted, the bandits will ask the victim to take the ransom to Zamfara State and within the last one year, the communities said they paid over N72million as ransom.”
He also explained that “when we received the report, we decided to investigate the matter and discovered that the present administration inherited the problem. We noticed that people from other states started settling in the bush since 2012 with series of kidnappings taking place, even in Ningi town.
” We have reported the matter to his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed.
The Governor sat with us on three occasions concerning the issue of security in our area. Gladly, the governor took urgent action to address the situation by sending fighter jets that ransacked the bush and cleared the criminals from Lame Burra game reserve,” the council chairman added.
“The governor deployed security personnel to protect the people and recruited hunters and vigilantes as part of an effort to protect the lives and properties of our citizens which reduced the activities of banditry in our area,” he said
The chairman further said that the communities live in palpable fear due to the activities of the bandits kidnapping their people and are gradually taking away their farms, adding that the move is to make the residents of the communities live in abject poverty as they keep paying ransom to them and losing their farms.
Mamuda Tabla also said that the council met with traditional rulers, security operatives and all relevant stakeholders, stressing that they are compiling the report of the activities of the bandits, after which it will take it to the state government for necessary action.
He commended the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed for his prompt response on issues that affect the security and well being of the society, especially the laudable development projects that have a direct bearing on the lives of people.
The Chairman listed some of the projects to include the construction of mass housing, the construction of schools, water supply, the building of hospitals and maternities.
Recall that in the month of February, a prominent politician in the area, Alhaji Mato Burra was abducted by gunmen and his family paid ransom to the bandits in Zamfara State, but until today, the communities are yet hear anything about the victim as they collected the money and refused to release the victim.
In another development, the district Head of Lame Sarkin Yakin Bauchi has also raised alarm over the presence of strangers in Lame Burra forest, saying that their presence has become a threat to the security of lives and properties in Toro and Ningi local government Areas of the state.

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