One of the bakers nabbed while supplying bread to bandits has described the armed gangs terrorising residents of Kaduna and its environs as their best customers.
Three bakers, who were arrested by the police in Kaduna, confessed supplying bread to bandits.
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The bandits are operating in Damari, Kidandan and Awala camps in Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The suspects led the police to a bakery where loaves of bread were seized.
Okada rider turn baker
“I am from Galadimawa village and I am married with two wives and three children. I started the bakery business in 2018,” one of the bakers said.
“I was an Okada rider and was always losing my bike to bandits who sometimes ambushed us. Sometime ago, one of my relatives Mustafa Magaji came to our area and taught me how to bake bread and with the little money that I saved, I started the business.
“I started with about N21,000 and now I make N400,000 a month. The boom in my business began when I started supplying bread to bandits. I was born and brought up here in Galadimawa and I know most of our young men who decided to become bandits.
“The community has a good relationship with them because they do not attack us. Initially when they started, they were raiding our villages but some of our community heads made them to understand that we were not the cause of their problem, that we were poor villagers also struggling to survive.
“This was why they stopped attacking us and many of them started coming out to mingle with the villagers. I normally wandered close to that area of the forest where they were staying
How I met a bandit
“It was during one of such trips in 2019 that I met Mohammed who bought ten loaves of bread and took my phone number. I sold the bread for N200 each instead of the regular market price of N170.
“The following day he called me that the bread was so delicious and that I should bring 20 more loaves.
Bandits paid in advance
“On the day that I took 20 loaves of bread to him, I met three others who were with him and they told me that they would like to be buying in large quantity. I however told them that I didn’t have enough cash and we agreed that they would pay the entire money before baking the bread.
“They started with N20,000 worth of bread and gradually increased to N50,000 a day. After deducting the cost of ingredient, I make as much as N150,000 in a week.
“We have a meeting point close to their hideout as I am not allowed to enter inside the bush. It is not even accessible with car. They don’t threaten me because we mind our business.
“They were aware that people were avoiding them, that was why they normally encouraged me by paying for the bread before it was baked. I do not know about their kidnap business; I just sell bread and go.
“It was my workers that were arrested by the police while on their way to deliver the bread and they brought the police to my factory.”
17-year old Ibrahim, a primary school dropout said, “I am from Galadimawa, I dropped out of Galadimawa primary school.
“My parents are farmers and they made me to join them in the farm instead of sending me to school. I have been saving money to buy a motorcycle but it was never enough. Luckily I got a job at Magaji local bakery about a year ago.
“I am paid N500 and a loaf of bread. Sometimes I would sell the loaf of bread instead of eating it. Part of my job is to sell bread in the neighbouring communities everyday.
“Those bandits are our best customers. Instead of trekking around begging people to buy bread, we would just deliver everything to them and go home.
“I am not a bandit because if I try it my father will hunt me down and hand me over to the police. He has warned me that those bandits used to kill innocent people which is wrong.”