By Godwin Isenyo
A community leader from the Birnin Gwari Emirate Council in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Alhaji Zubairu Abdulra’uf, has lamented how members of the communities paid N400m to bandits to enable them to go to their farms.
This is just as he said the people of the emirate had resorted to defending themselves against terrorists that had over the years taken over the area.
He told journalists in Kaduna on Thursday that the constant attacks on communities had paralysed economic activities in their rural areas and made travelling in the area impossible.
On payment to bandits, Abdulra’uf on the state owned radio – the Kaduna State Media Corporation, said “Yes, N200m was paid to bandits in Randegi district alone.
“When you talk of Birnin-Gwari Local Government as a whole, it’s between N300m to N400m paid to these bandits.
“There are three stages of paying these types of taxes to these bandits. You have to pay pre-season and mid-season when the crops are about to start yielding. You will pay these bandits because they will not allow you to have access to your farm. Then, at the end of the season when you are harvesting, you will give these bandits money before you access your farm.
“And when you access your farm after paying these taxes, they will now tell you that apart from giving them money, you will give a ratio of two bags to 10 bags of all the assorted grains.”
He added, “For the past three years, this is what the Birnin-Gwari people have been enduring and we are now in a state of hopelessness and frustration.
“When people are frustrated, they will now look for the best option for themselves which is to arm themselves if the government cannot protect them.”