One of the bakers nabbed while providing bread to bandits has described the armed gangs terrorizing residents of Kaduna and its environs as their best customers.
Police in Kaduna arrested three bakers who confessed to supplying bread to bandits.
In Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, the bandits operate in Damari, Kidandan, and Awala camps.
They led the police to a bakery where loaves of bread were seized.
Bike rider turn baker
“I come from Galadimawa village and have two wives and three children. “I started my bakery business in 2018,” said one of the bakers.
“I used to ride an Okada and was always losing my bike to bandits who ambushed us. Mustafa Magaji, one of my relatives, taught me how to bake bread some time ago, and with the little money I had saved, I started the business.
“I started with N21,000, and now I make N400,000 a month. After I started supplying bread to bandits, my business boomed. Galadimawa is my hometown, and I know most of our young men who became bandits.
“We have a good relationship with them because they don’t attack us. When they started, they were raiding our villages, but some of our community leaders convinced them that we were not the cause of their problems, as we too were poor villagers struggling to survive.
“This is why they stopped attacking us and started mixing with the villagers. I usually wandered close to the area of the forest where they were staying
Here’s how I met a bandit
“During one of these trips in 2019, I met Mohammed, who bought ten loaves of bread and took my number. In place of the regular market price of N170, I sold the bread for N200 each.
“The next day he called me to say that the bread was so delicious and that I should bring 20 more loaves.
Bandits had paid in advance
“The day I delivered 20 loaves of bread to him, I met three others with him who said they would like to buy in large quantities. But I told them that I didn’t have enough cash and we agreed that they would pay the entire amount before the bread was baked.
“They began with N20,000 worth of bread and gradually increased to N50,000 a day. After deducting the cost of ingredients, I make as much as N150,000 a week.
“We will meet near their hideout since I cannot enter the bush. It is not even accessible by car. They don’t threaten me because we don’t interfere with each other.
The owners knew that people avoided them, so they usually paid for the bread before it was baked to encourage me. I don’t know about their kidnapping business; I just sell bread and go.
“It was my workers who were arrested by the police while on their way to deliver bread and they brought the police to my factory.”
Ibrahim, a 17-year-old primary school dropout, said, “I’m from Galadimawa, I left Galadimawa primary school.
“My parents are farmers, and they made me join them on the farm instead of sending me to school. Saving money for a motorcycle has never been enough for me. About a year ago, I got a job at the local bakery in Magaji.
“I receive N500 and a loaf of bread. I sometimes sold the loaf of bread instead of eating it. Each day, I sell bread in neighboring communities as part of my job.
“Those bandits are our best clients. Instead of trekking around asking people to buy bread, we could just deliver everything and go home.
If I try to become a bandit, my father will hunt me down and hand me over to the police. “Those bandits used to kill innocent people, which is wrong.” He warned me.