Bandits Demand ₦10 Million ‘Tax’ from Kaduna Farmers

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News in brief: Bandits in Kaduna State demand a ₦10 million fine from farmers, preventing them from returning to their farms, posing a threat to food production and causing unemployment concerns.

Bandits have asked farmers in Birnin-Gwari local government area of Kaduna State to pay a fine of ₦10 million to be able to return to their farms. For the farmers, it is either they pay or they forget about farming for the rest of the year.

According to Mr Ishaq Usman Kasai, the chairman of the Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), the farmers had three days (until 30 May 2023) to pay the tax. Kasai was appealing to Nigeria’s new president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to lend a hand in solving the state’s insecurity issue.

Kaduna farmers are no strangers to bandits violence

The bandits threaten to attack farmers in their farms if they fail to pay. This is no empty threat as the union chief mentioned several insecurity incidents in the state within May 2023.

“Even today, as I am writing this congratulatory message, the community is on the other hand at grief because even last Sunday night, Dadin Kowa village was attacked and sacked by bandits on motorcycles wielding different kinds of rifles,” Kasai said.

In April 2023, Kaduna State commissioner for internal security and home affairs, Samuel Aruwan, reported that about 1,052 people died in the state in 2022. He adds that bandits abducted 4,227 and injured 648 during the period.

Clearly, bandits have the state in there grasp. Also, the levy is not a one-time thing. We found a report of similar tax of ₦12 million in September 2022, asking four communities of the state — Kwaga, Kwanan-Shehu, Unguwan Liman and Unguwan Shekarau — to pay ₦3 million each. Similarly, another report pegs the total sum of levies paid to bandits between 2019 and 2022 in the Birni-Gwari Local Government to be between ₦300 million to ₦400 million.

Typically, the levies come in three tranches: pre-season, mid-season, and harvest, according to a statement by the former Managing Director of Kaduna State Media Corporation. The bandits also demand tithe-like payments from the farmers that can be as high as two percent of their produce.

Kaduna state is a major agricultural area with about 1.3 million farming families, at least in 2017. Its major crops include tomatoes, maize, rice and soybeans, which are all essential to nutrition in Nigeria. The state is responsible for 22% of maize in the country and 10% of groundnuts. Without access to farms, industry analysts have voiced concerns about a national food crisis. Not to forget, since the agric sector employs a bulk of the state’s workforce (about 42.4%), it means that many people will be out of work if the situation persists unchecked.

Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya
Obinna Onwuasoanya is a tech reporter of over five years, fiction writer, SEO expert and an editor. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and was previously shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize 2018.


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