‘Bandits collect 20% of harvests every year in Kaduna community’ | Dailytrust

‘Bandits collect 20% of harvests every year in Kaduna community’

FILE PHOTO:  A yam farm about to be harvested at Maska, Funtua LGA, Katsina State
FILE PHOTO: A yam farm about to be harvested at Maska, Funtua LGA, Katsina State

Zubair Abdulrra’uf, a community leader in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has disclosed that bandits take 20 per cent of harvests in the Randegi district of the local government area.

Abdulrra’uf, who is a former Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation, disclosed this while speaking on a Channels TV morning programme on Wednesday.

He said this practice had been going on for over three years, adding that the people were fed up with the situation.

He said, “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.

“There are three stages of paying these types of taxes to these bandits. You have to pay pre-season and mid-season when the crops are about to start yeilding. 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 2 bags to 10 bags of all the assorted grains.

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

“When people are fraustrated, they will now look for the best option for themselves which is to arm themselves if the government can not protect them,” Abdulrra’uf said.

He went further to accuse the government of abandoning the people of Birnin-Gwari.

He said the blame should not go to the president alone but to the state governor and chairmen of the affected local government areas who should be the chief security officers of the state and their local governments respectively.

Speaking further on the current situation in the area, he said  “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 Birni Gwari.

“If something is not done, we are going to have food crisis. Birni 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.”

Abdulrra’uf commended the directive by the government of Zamfara State that civilians should arm themselves against the bandits, saying the people of Birni-Gwari were towing the path already.

He said, “We have reached the point of no return. People are being pushed to the wall. Just yesterday (Tuesday), 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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