Zubairu Abdulra’uf, a member of the Birnin Emirate in Kaduna State, Danmasani Birnin Gwari, stated that for over two years, farmers in Birnin-Gwari have paid N400 million to bandits as tax and harvest fees in order to access their farms.
This was stated by the former managing director of Kaduna State Media Corporation in an interview with Kaduna-based journalists on Thursday, June 30.
“In Randegi district alone, N200 million was paid to bandits. As a result, the Birni-Gwari Local Government has paid between N300 million and N400 million to these bandits “he claimed.
“There are three steps involved in paying these types of taxes to these thugs. You must pay prior to and during the growing season when crops are about to produce.”
“You will pay these robbers because they will not allow you access to your farm without payment. Then, at the end of the season, when you are harvesting, you will pay these bandits before entering your farm.
“And when you gain access to your farm after paying these taxes, they will inform you that in addition to giving them money, you must provide them a ratio of two bags for every ten bags of all grains.
Abdulra’uf further remarked; “The Birnin-Gwari people have endured this for the past three years, and we are now in a condition of hopelessness and frustration.
“If the government cannot protect them, frustrated individuals will seek out the best choice for themselves, which is to arm themselves.
“People are unable to work or travel even one kilometre from Birni Gwari town to other locations, and the scenario is the same in all of the town’s districts.
“If nothing is done, we will have a food shortage. In the past, Birnin-Gwari Gwari produced at least 700 metric tonnes of various cereals, but now locals cannot reach their farms.
“Since the beginning of this rainy season, there have been numerous instances of people being kidnapped on their way to the farm, as well as their farm animals being stolen, he stated.
Abdulra’uf remarked that the bandits’ attacks on his people had entirely paralysed economic activity in rural villages and rendered travel in the region difficult or even impossible in some locations.
“We are now past the point of no return. People are shoved against the wall. Randegi was one of these bandits’ routes via Zafara State to Niger State as recently as yesterday.
“Yesterday, the residents of Randegi engaged these bandits who attempted to conquer Randegi, a farming village, and they were successful in evicting them. Consequently, I believe that our populace is now prepared in the event that the government cannot perform its constitutional duties “he continued.