Boko Haram insurgents are coercing residents of the Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State to marry off their daughters at the age of 12 years.
Residents of the affected communities said the insurgents had ordered them not to recognise any constituted authority.
According to Daily Trust, a resident of the area, and Co-Convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths, Bello Ibrahim, said in an interview, “At a time, they were in Kawure, the village of former Senator Representing Niger East, David Umaru. But there was operation to dislodge them by the joint military task force.
“Fortunately they were dispatched but after a while, since military base is not stationed there, they reconvened. So now, they are not only in Kawure, they have also extended their tentacles to Communities like Kuregbe, Awulo, and host of other Communities.
“In Awulo and Kuregbe Communities, they assembled the locals, both Muslims and Christians, and gave them marching order that any girl that is 12 years old should be married off.
“There is no any form of law in the area, aside Boko Haram’s… If locals have any feud, either family issue of community problem, they report to them for resolution.
“No any case should be reported to police or court or any constituted authority for resolution.”
Another resident said the criminals operate freely.
He noted, “They are operating freely and mingling freely with the villagers. They have become constituted authority in those villages. And Kaure, Awulo and Kuregbe are their operational grounds. They coerce locals to obey them as their authority.
“In the entire Chukuba and Kuregbe ward, it is Boko Haram elements that are operating there not bandits that we know.”
The Chairman, Shiroro Local Government, Suleiman Chukuba confirmed the influx of Boko Haram elements, saying “On the issue of influx of Boko Haram in shiroro, only four wards have been affected.”
He said the residents were made to believe that they were Boko Haram elements because of their mode of preaching.
“They told villagers that they have money to help them and that they have guns to give them to fight Government. And that is the same doctrine we know Boko Haram elements promote,” he said.
But residents said they had not recruited the locals aside coercing them to do especially the issue of not reporting any case or feud to police or court and the marital age for girls.