Farmers in rural communities of the FCT are now having nightmares following an upsurge in reported cases of kidnapping and the majority of them have been forced to abandon their farms and others have relocated to fields close to their homes.
Mr. Ayuba Samuel, a farmer in Ijah community in Kwali Area Council, said the majority of the farmers were now scared of going to their farms because of incessant attacks and kidnapping.
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Mr. Samuel said, “Even if I am going to the farm now, I have to mobilise some youths to come along with me for fear of being attacked by kidnappers.”
He said he cultivated five hectares where he planted a variety of crops but that the farm had been overgrown with weeds.
Another farmer, in Farakuti, Musa Abednego, said most of the farmers in his community had adopted group farming, and explained that a group of farmers set a day when they turned out in their large numbers to cultivate one person’s farm.
“We do this because of fear of being kidnapped by bandits who sometimes attack farmers on their farms and whisk them away at gun point,” he said.
“The incident that happened last week in Yanbabu village where some bandits killed four people has scared most of the farmers from going to their farms too,” he added.
Malam Ismaila Aliyu, a farmer in Gatsana village in Kuje Area Council, said farmers no longer went far distances to cultivate lands for fear of being attacked by gunmen.
He said most of the fertile lands which were far from the community had been taken over by bandits as their hideouts.
The Chairman of the FCT branch of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Abubakar Dahiru Zuba, said reported activities of armed bandits had scared rural farmers from fully engaging in farming this year and that most of the rural farmers hardly went far distances from their villages to farm.
He said bandits took advantage of the distances to attack farmers and rape women that went far from their homes to farm or fetch firewood, and noted that the activities of the bandits might likely lead to serious threat to food security.
Alhaji Zuba, therefore, called on the Federal Government to provide more security, especially aerial patrols, in forested areas within the rural communities, to chase away the bandits so that farmers could have confidence and courage to cultivate.
Reacting on the situation, the spokesman of the FCT Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manza, said the command had put in place security measures across rural communities to guarantee a hitch-free 2020 farming season and noted that it was on that premise that the command initiated community policing.