Many families in Geidam town of Yobe State have received N20,000 each from Boko Haram fighters loyal to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Experts with knowledge of how the factional group operates said the unprecedented move was to entice the residents to join the group or see them in good light.
The outlawed group had taken over Geidam since Friday, April 23 and used some families as “human shield”, making it difficult for the Nigerian Air Force fighter jets to tackle the invaders and for the ground troops to recover the town.
Sources said while security forces succeeded in getting into the town on Monday, three days after the invasion, the fighters of the outlawed group were still in the town up till Wednesday.
Many families have moved to Damaturu, the state capital, while others have joined their extended families and acquaintances in Dapchi, Babban Gida, Gashua and other towns.
Abba, a resident of Geidam, said: “Some people are still living in Geidam have received the N20,000 from Boko Haram as Ramadan gift.
“Some families willingly collected the money while others collected it out of fear…They don’t want to be flogged or killed if they reject it,” he said.
A woman, who doesn’t want her name mentioned, said the terrorists were also preaching to the people.
“It is a dangerous dimension for now because they would end up recruiting our children. Government should confront them,” she said.
Security expert Salihu Bakhari said: “treating people well is one of the membership drive strategy of ISWAP in contrast to what Abubakar Shekau does.
“The federal forces must not allow the terrorists to remain in Geidam, they should flush them out so that we would not have a repeat of what is happening in the Lake Chad region. More than 70 per cent of the residents have vacated their houses which is good. However, those remaining in the town could be influenced by the terrorists who have started enforcing some of their so-called laws including leading them in prayers,” he said.