Insecurity in Nigeria has become a major challenge, not just to farmers who make a living from farming but to Nigerians in general who end up suffering from the scarcity and hunger that may set in.
From recent happenings in Nigeria, it is safe to say that bandits have now become lords in many areas of the country.
In fact, to affirm their status, these bandits have imposed levies on farmers in some communities of Igabi, Giwa, and Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
The farmers are compelled to pay levies to the bandits to allow them to harvest their crops and access their farmlands or face severe consequences.
According to the bandits, some of the consequences include abduction, murder, or confiscation of their produce.
The affected communities are Kidandan, Galadimawa Kerawa, Sabon Layi, Sabon Birni and Ruma. Residents pay between ₦70,000 and ₦100,000 to bandits for permission to harvest.
Payment Before Harvest
In Kerawa village, a resident, Shafi’u Kerawa, confirmed the payment of levies to bandits before harvesting.
Lamenting the situation, Shafi’u emphasised the need for increased security presence.
He wants the government to place securith operatives along the Tsako to Kerawa road, due to the persistent threat by bandits.
“As the dry season approaches, farmers are eager to harvest their crops, but the absence of security personnel makes it challenging for them to venture into nearby bushes,” he said.
According to him, Kerawa town is big and full of farmers, but the lack of police or soldiers makes the residents vulnerable to bandits’ attacks.
In Ruma village, located behind Kaduna Airport Road, in Igabi Local Government Area, many farmers have abandoned their farms.
Most of them have relocated to safer communities to avoid the terror and levies imposed by bandits.
A resident from Sabon Birni village near the Kaduna Airport said bandits had turned the villagers into their workers, compelling them to toil on bandit-owned farms, especially in Ruma village.
“Those without money to pay are forced to sell their crops to raise the levies or even work on the bandits’ farmlands,” he said.
Jafar Anaba, a displaced community leader from Anguwar Salahu, near Kerawa village, warns of a potential food shortage in the state if the insecurity persists.
“Many farmers have abandoned their farms due to the constant threat of banditry in the area, and this has affected our productivity,” he said.
In Eastern Birnin Gwari, Hudu Kwasakwasa, a resident said their community experiences less interference from bandits due to the presence of Ansaru militants.
According to him, farmers in the area work without fear of forced levies since bandits avoid the community due to consistent encounters with the Ansaru militants.
However, he explained that neighbouring communities in Katsina State, with whom they share a border, suffer, as the bandits destroy farms at will.