Banditry: Our source of livelihood under threat.. Kaduna Farmers


  • Kaduna Northern Nigeria: On June 5, 2023, a tragic incident occurred in the western part of Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Suspected bandits launched an attack on farms located in Shiwaka, Unguwan Bagudu, and Sabonlayi areas, resulting in the deaths of two farmers and several others sustaining injuries.
    The attack took place around 11:30 am, catching the locals off guard while they were diligently working on their farms. As the chaos unfolded, the bandits continued their assault, even targeting the fleeing farmers.

    Another devastating incident took place on June 16, 2023, in the same Kaduna State region. Suspected bandits struck again, this time killing two biological brothers who were farming in their field at Unguwar Gajere village, Kutemeshi ward, Birnin Gwari local government area.

    Shockingly, the incident occurred just one day after two farmers were abducted by bandits while working on their farm in Gwanda mai Gyada, another village in the same Kutemeshi ward.

    These distressing stories from Birnin Gwari Local Government Area paint a grim reality. The constant fear of being kidnapped by bandits has compelled numerous farmers to abandon their farmland, as they face an ongoing threat to their lives and livelihoods daily

This unfortunate situation has caused significant distress among the farming community, leading to disrupted agricultural activities and a potential threat to food security in the region.

The relentless activities of bandits, who have been terrorizing the area, have instilled a deep sense of fear and insecurity among the farmers.

Daily Trust gathered that the farmers, who once relied on their land to sustain their families and contribute to the local economy, now find themselves caught between the risk of abduction and the desperate need to provide for their loved ones.
The fear of being targeted by bandits has become overwhelming, causing many to abandon their farmland and seek refuge elsewhere, leaving their crops untended and their livelihoods in jeopardy.

It has been reported that bandits are targeting and killing farmers, as well as abducting them while they work on their farmland in various communities such as old Birnin Gwari town, Damari, Unguwar Gajere, Gwanda mai Gyada, Kutemeshi, Tabbani, and Dogon Dogon Dawa areas.

Our livelihood is under threat…farmers

A concerned resident of Birnin Gwari Main town, Muhammadu, expressed the gravity of their predicament, stating that they are unable to venture beyond the main town without the constant threat of being killed or abducted.

He emphasized the worsening conditions, saying, “Life has become difficult for them because the situation has deteriorated. We are in a serious problem as we cannot visit our farmlands located just a kilometer from the main town. Anyone who dares to do so is on his own.”

Muhammadu further explained that despite the presence of an Airforce mini base in Birnin Gwari, the bandits continue to brazenly abduct people working on their land even in broad daylight.

Another resident, Shagari, reiterated the significance of farming as their primary source of livelihood in Birnin Gwari. However, this livelihood is now under significant threat due to the criminal activities in the area.

“Our source of livelihood is under threat because, as we speak, we cannot visit our farms located less than a kilometer from Birnin Gwari town. Life has become unbearable for us,” Shagari lamented.

He stated that the bandits have already issued a warning to the locals, urging them to avoid going to their farms or face fatal consequences.

The situation is similar in Kajuru, another local government area struggling with insecurity in the state. Yuhana Maigari, a resident of the area, revealed that approximately 30 communities have been displaced by bandits.

According to Maigari, most of the displaced villagers were farmers who are now unable to return to their communities due to fear.

“The situation is terrible because about 30 communities have been displaced in this town, and the majority were farmers since we are an agrarian community.

“These displaced people are currently seeking refuge at Kasuwar Magani and Maraban Kajuru. Consequently, they have abandoned their farmlands, resulting in no farming activities this year,” he said.

He emphasized that if the situation is not effectively addressed, it could lead to food shortages not only in the local government area but also in the entire state.

Maigari said the repercussions of farmers abandoning their land are far-reaching, adding that not only does it result in decreased agricultural productivity and potential food shortages, but it also has adverse effects on the local economy.
He said the loss of income and livelihood opportunities further exacerbates the already challenging circumstances faced by the community.
Experts believed that addressing the situation requires concerted efforts from both the government and security agencies.
They said it is imperative to restore a sense of security and instill confidence among farmers, allowing them to return to their farmland without the constant fear of abduction.
Bandits forced farmers to stay at home- Birnin Gwari Union.

Ishaq Kasai, the Chairman of the Birnin Gwari Emirates Progressive Union (BEPU), stated that the bandits who are terrorizing the villagers are still located in their camps around Kamuku Forest.

He highlighted that since last Friday, the residents in the Kutemeshi area of the local government have been forced to stay at home because the bandits prevent them from accessing their farmlands.

According to him, the local people are aware of the camp locations, but the security agencies have yet to conduct raids on these camps. This allows the bandits to move freely, abducting and killing the villagers.

He emphasized that if the security agencies proactively engage in fighting the bandits by targeting their camps, the situation could be brought under control.

“It will be difficult to address the situation as long as the bandit camps remain unraided. The locals still spot them in the forest, particularly in Kamuku Forest,” he said.

He explained that the bandits still collect levies from communities within the LGA before allowing the people access to their farmlands those who couldn’t pay are attacked.

“We are doing our best to protect farmers.” – Police

According to the State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Jalige, the command is diligently working to safeguard the lives of individuals residing in rural communities, particularly farmers.

He emphasized that protecting farmers is of utmost importance to the command since any hindrance to their access to farmlands would adversely affect agricultural production.

“We are making every effort to ensure their protection ” he stated.

The  Governor’s Chief Press Secretary Muhammad Lawal Shehu
When contacted promised to issue a statement on the issue but has not done so as at the time of filling this report.
Culled from Daily Trust in June, 2023


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