Farmers in Northern Nigeria now pay bandits at least N1.7m annually as tax and harvest fees before they can have access to their farms and avoid being abducted.
“Our people have stopped going to their farmlands for fear of being kidnapped or killed. Kidnapping has become a common phenomenon in this area.
“Bandits are now the ones who decide whether we go to farms or not, in some areas even if farmers plant crops they cannot cultivate due to insecurity.
“In my village, we pay N800,000 as tax and N900,000 as harvest fees. Even if you pay, they will come to your farm and abduct you. This Fulani herdsmen are our problem here in Zamfara, only God can help us,” a resident of Dankurmi Village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State told SaharaReporters.
A farmer in Sabuwa Local Government Area of Katsina said they now negotiated with bandits before they were allowed to harvest their crops.
He said about 45 farmers had been killed by bandits in the local government area alone in 2020.
“They send messages of attack to communities or tax us large amounts of money before they allow us to go to farm,” he said.
Meanwhile, some Nigerians on Twitter have corroborated the claims of the farmers.
“Bandits are collecting sum of N800,000 as tax from local farmers in Ɗan Kurmi under Maru LG of Zamfara, but social media bill and EndSARS protest is more important to Northern governors than insecurity,” @AM_Saleeem tweeted.
“Same with Yankara community under Faskari LG of Katsina State. Before they allow you harvest your crops, you’ve to negotiate with them and pay a minimum of N300,000. The bigger the farm, the higher the price. If you refuse to pay the ransom, they’ll burn the crops.
#SecureNorth,” Another Twitter user, Ibrahim Umar Rufa’i @khaliifa_Umar, said.
Same with Yankara community under Faskari LG of Katsina state. Before they allow you harvest your crops, youâve to negotiate with them and pay a minimum of 300k. The bigger the farm, the higher the price. If you refuses to pay the ransom, theyâll burn the crops.#SecureNorth https://t.co/VZuXNpq5al— LANDLORD ð¥ð¤´ (@aminuyaro_) November 11, 2020
Zamfara and Katsina are the states most affected by terrorism and banditry in Nigeria's North-West region.