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Catholic bishop alleges Boko Haram collecting taxes in Borno

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Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna diocese, Mathew Ndago-Manoso, has alleged that members of the Boko Haram sect are not only controlling parts of Borno State, but are collecting taxes from innocent people.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Catholic Diocese Priests’ Association which held, in Kaduna State, on Tuesday, Ndago-Manoso said the insurgents provide services to the part of the sate under their control and have been collecting taxes from the people.

He said there was a possibility of government not being aware of the development.

According to the cleric,“Insecurity starts from where there is absence of government. The absence of government in certain parts of the country has brought us to where we are today.

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“Our problem has always been the management of resources of the land. Something is happening right now whether the government knows or not.

“The splinter group of the Boko Haram is providing services to some communities in Borno State.

“They are collecting taxes because of the absence of government. This is dangerous.” But Nigeria Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, denied the allegation of the bishop.

In the words of Col. Musa,“There is so far no place where Boko Haram terrorists are occupying, talk less of collecting taxes in Borno State and the entire north-east zone,” he said on Wednesday.

President Muhammadu Buhari and the military authorities have consistently said no part of the country was being controlled by Boko Haram.

Ndago-Manoso also said there is hardship in the land, adding that many people can no long take care of their responsibilities.

He said Nigeria has no business overtaking India as the “world capital of poverty”, narrating how people have been trooping to his office to beg for money to feed.

“You see, in governance or democratic government, if you know you don’t have the capacity to even rule a local government, don’t put yourself forward,” he said.

“The very fact that you put yourself forward you are telling the people that you have the capacity and the know-how. Even if you don’t have the know-how, I think in leadership, you don’t need to have the know-how. I think you should have the intelligence to get people who know to be able to do the job. No matter how intelligent you are, you cannot do it alone.

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“Now talking about the present government, I think the simple question that every Nigerian should ask is – my life today and my life before this government came in, what is the difference?

“Go on the streets and ask Nigerians, four years on, how is your life compared to before.

“I can tell you I am 33 years in priesthood. I have never seen Nigerians come to my office in tears looking for ordinary food.

“You see them dressed up in Agbada, but if they tell you what they are going through, they are not able to feed their families. It has never been this bad in our country.

“We have the resources. I think our leaders should get off their back and do what they need to do, using our resources.

“We are not poor, we have no business overtaking India as the poorest country in the world.

“Officially our population has hit 200 million, and India has over 1.2 billion people, but the resources we have, India does not have, yet we have overtaken them in terms of poverty. I think it is shameful.”