Farmers in Kaduna state have abandoned their farm produce in farms for fear of being kidnapped by armed men in Igabi Local Government Area of the state, Daily Trust has learnt.
Some of the farmers said they cannot access their farms to harvest their farm produce despite the fact that the produce are due for harvest.
Daily Trust gathered that armed men, who according to the farmers are Fulani, are in control of the route to their farms which is about three kilometres to Rigasa Railway Station.
A farmer who simply identified himself as Malam Sabo said each time farmers go to their farms, the bandits either kidnap them for ransom or they are chased back home.
“We are in a very difficult situation now because we are not allowed to visit our farms. As we speak, I have not been to my maize farm for weeks now because of the fear of being kidnapped.
“These people kidnap farmers for ransom and if a farmer fails to pay, he can be killed,” he said.
According to him, two Gbagyi women were kidnapped last week Saturday and released 24 hours later after ransom was paid.
He listed villages where the kidnappers operate with impunity to include Gurguzu, Kwate, Maguzawa Mai Giginya, Kwaten dan Masani and Faka.
Speaking further, he said, “Majority of us who have farms in these communities collected loans to farm and now we cannot even harvest our farm produce to pay back the loan.”
He said their farm produce are being wasted in the farms because they cannot go to their farms to harvest.
Malam Sabo urged security agencies to visit these areas so as to free the communities from the bondage of the kidnappers.
Speaking in the same vain, another farmer in Rigasa, Aliyu Ibrahim said he was forced to abandon his farm over kidnapping in the area.
According to him, “I have not been to my farm in weeks because I’m very scared. My farm produce are ready for harvesting but they are there abandoned in the farm.
“We need security agencies to come to our aid, our means of livelihood is threatened and our lives are in danger in farming communities in Rigasa and its environs.”
He decried that if the situation is not brought under control, there will be shortage of food next year.
However, when contacted, Police Public Relations Officer of the Kaduna state Command, DSP Yakubu Sabo Abubakar, debunked the claim by the farmers.
He said, “This is not true because farmers still go to farm in all the villages you have mentioned. Cases of kidnapping in Rigasa area has been controlled drastically due to constant proactive actions of the police in the area.
“The command has taken serious security measures to curb all forms of crime and criminality in Kaduna. Of recent, we have security challenges more in Birnin Gwari axis even though we have deployed adequate security strategies to combat banditry in the area.”
He further expressed that, although there is still apprehension in the minds of the people of the area, the command is at its best at the moment in terms of providing security to citizens.