Some communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State have been taxed N12m by bandits in order to carry out farming activities.
Ishaq Usman Kasai, the Chairman of Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), in a statement, explained that the bandits had threatened the farmers that they risked being abducted on the farms if they failed to pay the N12 million.
According to the statement, “The bandits informed some farming communities including Kwaga, Kwanan-Shehu, Unguwan Liman and Unguwan Shekarau to pay levies amounting to N12 million (3 million each) in order for them to be allowed to continue harvesting their crops.”
The statement further explained that the communities were given only a grace of today (Friday), 30th September, 2022, to meet the condition, failure which the bandits vowed to kidnap any person found on the farms.
He stated that the union found that the helpless communities had started making contributions based on farm size to meet the condition and the deadline.
The statement appealed to the Nigerian government to come to the aid of the helpless farming communities of Birnin-Gwari in order to allow them to have access to their farms and harvest their crops without any harm or intimidation.
The Union disclosed that the six (6) people kidnapped at a farm centre on Saturday 24th September, 2022, who were of Kwaga community were released on Wednesday, 28th September, 2022, after providing the bandits with rice, beans, 25 litres of red oil, 25 litres of groundnut oil and recharge card of N10,000.
It added that “the four (4) people of Unguwan Liman, who were kidnapped on Saturday, 24th September, 2022, and one at Unguwan Shekarau were also released on Wednesday after payment of N2 million and N500,000, respectively.”
The Union reported that “the five (5) farmers earlier kidnapped on Thursday, 15th September, 2022 at Kurgin Gabas and Sabon-Layi areas have luckily escaped from the kidnappers’ den in the early hours of Friday, 22nd September, 2022 after spending a week in captivity.”
Regrettably, the statement said “a farmer was killed at Shiwaka community on Tuesday, 27th September, 2022 after being tied to a tree”, saying that more than 20 people were kidnapped on Wednesday, 28th September, 2022 at different farms in Jangali and Kwaga areas.