INCREDIBLE! Birnin Gwari Community Says It Paid N400m To Bandits Before Being Allowed To Farm 

Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting

Farming natives of volatile Birnin Gwari in Birnin Emirate of Kaduna State have said they had to cough up N400 million as tributes and tax to terrorists before they could embark on farming. 

They said they also contribute two to 10 bags of all the assorted grains produced in their farms before they could continue to farm.

A member of the Birnin Emirate, Danmasani Birnin Gwari, Zubairu Abdulra’uf, lamented that bandits had, for over two years, been imposing such levies on the Birni-Gwari farmers without respite.

He said the people are fed up and might begin to arm themselves for self-defence since the county’s security agents have abandoned them to their fate.

Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna on Thursday, he affirmed, “Yes, N200 million was paid to bandits in Randegi district alone.

“When you talk of Birni-Gwari Local Government as a whole, it’s between N300 million to N400 million paid to these bandits.”

The Former Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation, further explained that  there are three stages of paying the taxes to  the bandits.

“You have to pay pre-season and mid-season when the crops are about to start yielding.

“You will pay these bandits because they will not allow you to have access to your farm.

“Then, at the end of the season when you are harvesting, you will give these bandits money before you access your farm.

“And when you access your farm after paying these taxes, they will now tell you that apart from giving them money, you will give a ratio of two to 10 bags of all the assorted grains.

“For the past three years, this is what Birnin-Gwari people have been enduring and we are now in a state of hopelessness and frustration.

“When people are frustrated, they will now look for the best option for themselves which is to arm themselves if the government can not protect them,.

“We are living in a situation where people can no longer work or even travel one kilometre from Birni Gwari town to other areas and it’s the same thing that we have in all the districts in Birnin Gwari.

“If something is not done, we are going to have food crisis. Birnin-Gwari Gwari used to produce at least 700 metric tonnes of assorted grains but now people cannot access their farms.

“There are many cases, since the beginning of this rainy season, that people are being abducted on their way to the farm and even the cattle they use for farming are being collected from them,” he narrated.

Abdulrra’uf further noted that the activities of the bandits on his people had completely paralysed the economic activities in the rural communities and made travelling in the area so difficult or even impossible in some places.

According to him, “We have reached the point of no return. People are being pushed to the wall.

“Just yesterday, Randegi is one of the areas where these bandits have their routes through Zamfara State to Niger State.

“Yesterday, the people of Randegi confronted these bandits who tried to overrun Randegi, a farming community, and they succeeded in dislodging these bandits.

“So, I think our people are now ready if the government cannot perform its constitutional function.”

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