The Secretary of Shiroro Local Government Area in Niger State, Adams Kefas, has disclosed that N14 million was paid to spiritualists and vigilantes to fight banditry in the council.
Kefas said some of the spiritualists were brought in from Akare in Wushishi Local Government Area in Niger state and others from Chikun Local Government Area in Kaduna state.
According to the Nation, the council boss disclosed this while being questioned by the Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the suspended Chairman of Shiroro LGA, Suleiman Dauda Chukuba, over a petition on alleged misappropriation of N50million tenement rate.
He said some of the vigilante groups were from the council while others were brought in from Chikun LGA to help combat insecurity in the council.
Shiroro LGA of Niger state has been the epicentre of insecurity and bandit attacks in the state, recording the daily attacks on communities.
Kefas said engagement of the spiritualists was carried out on the directive of the embattled chairman, saying the decision was based on advice by residents in the area.
He said the advisors told them a lot of communities being attacked by bandits had engaged the services of spiritualists and they succeeded in resolving the security challenges in the communities.
He said he was initially not told he was going to negotiate with spiritualists until he got there.
He said, “It was not until I reached the place that I knew I was going to engage with spiritualists.
“Then I could not do anything other than to do what I did in assisting my area to overcome the security challenges our people were facing on daily basis.”
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik, took a swipe at the chairman for being careless in its extra-budgetary expenses after questioning the chairman, who admitted that money was spent on vigilantes and spiritualists.