In some communities across Igabi, Giwa, and Birnin Gwari Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, farmers are reportedly facing the imposition of levies by bandits, compelling them to pay for permission to harvest their crops and access their farmlands. The consequences for non-compliance include abduction, murder, or confiscation of their produce.
Affected areas such as Kidandan, Galadimawa Kerawa, Sabon Layi, Sabon Birni, and Ruma are witnessing residents paying substantial amounts ranging from N70,000 to N100,000 to bandits to secure the right to harvest. In Kerawa village, a resident named Shafi’u Kerawa confirmed the payment of levies, underscoring the pressing need for increased security presence, particularly along the Tsako to Kerawa road, due to the persistent threat posed by bandits.
As the dry season approaches, farmers express eagerness to harvest their crops, but the absence of adequate security personnel makes it challenging for them to venture into nearby bushes, according to Shafi’u Kerawa. He highlighted that Kerawa town, despite being large and populated by farmers, lacks police or military presence, rendering residents vulnerable to bandit attacks.
In Ruma village, located behind Kaduna Airport Road in Igabi Local Government Area, numerous farmers have reportedly abandoned their farms, relocating to safer communities to escape the terror and levies imposed by bandits. A resident from Sabon Birni village near the Kaduna Airport revealed that bandits had effectively turned villagers into their workers, coercing them to toil on bandit-owned farms, particularly in Ruma village.
Jafar Anaba, a displaced community leader from Anguwar Salahu near Kerawa village, warned of a potential food shortage in the state if insecurity persists. He noted that many farmers have abandoned their farms due to the constant threat of banditry, significantly impacting productivity.
In Eastern Birnin Gwari, Hudu Kwasakwasa, a resident, stated that their community experiences less interference from bandits due to the presence of Ansaru militants. Farmers in this area reportedly work without fear of forced levies since bandits avoid the community to prevent encounters with Ansaru militants.
However, Kwasakwasa highlighted that neighboring communities in Katsina State, sharing a border with Eastern Birnin Gwari, suffer as bandits destroy farms without restraint.