Farmers and other residents of Damboa in Borno State have started paying Zakat (taxes) to the dreaded members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), Daily Trust has reliably gathered.
Zakat is an Islamic finance term referring to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. Zakat is a mandatory process for Muslims and is regarded as a form of worship.
A top state government official told our correspondent that many farmers are living under the control of ISWAP fighters in the Damboa axis.
“The terrorists allow the locals to farm and they collect what they called zakat (an annual alms tax or poor rate) from every farmer after they harvest their produce,” he said.
The source claimed that the farmers were not averse to the arrangement.
“When Boko Haram under Shekau infested these areas, they don’t even allow people to go to their farms; so, when ISWAP somehow took over, they said people can go to their farms but must pay tax and also pay zakat,” he said.
A farmer, who gave his name as Musa Mrusha, told our correspondent that many of the locals said they don’t want authorities to know.
“In the past, many Boko Haram fighters have killed many farmers during harvest time like this. But have you heard of such this year?
“Early last month they came and told me while I was at the farm that when it is time to harvest, they have their portions which I agreed and fulfil the promised,” Musa said.