The Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU) has raised the alarm over the imposition of a levy of N12 million on farming communities in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
In a statement Thursday in Kaduna, the Chairman of BEPU, Ishaq Kasai, said besides imposing taxes on farmers, the bandits have intensified their attacks on communities.
The statement said the bandists imposed N12 million levies on four communities to be paid before they could be allowed to harvest their farm produce.
He said six people were abducted in their farms last Saturday but were released after the bandits were provided with food stuffs and recharge cards worth N10,000.
“Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU) regret to report that as farmers begin to harvest their crops, armed bandits intensify their attacks and imposed levies on some farming communities in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State,” the statement said.
Kasai said: “Six people kidnapped at farm centre on Saturday 24/9/2022 from Kwaga community and released on Wednesday 28/9/2022 after providing to the bandits 20 Mudu of rice, 20 Mudu of beans, 25 litres of red oil, 25 litres of groundnut oil and recharge card of N10,000.
“Also, the four people of Unguwan Liman who were kidnapped on Saturday 24/9/2022 and one at Unguwan Shekarau were released yesterday Wednesday after payment of N2 million and N500,000 respectively.
“The union is however pleased to report that the five farmers earlier kidnapped on Thursday 15/9/2022 at Kurgin Gabas and Sabon-Layi areas have luckily escaped from the kidnappers’ den in the early hours of Friday 22/9/2022 after spending a week in captivity.
“Regrettably, a farmer was killed at Shiwaka community on Tuesday 27/9/2022 after being tied to a tree; and more than 20 people were kidnapped on Wednesday 28/9/2022 at different farms in Jangali and Kwaga areas.”
The statement lamented that: “Another worrisome development is that the bandits informed some farming communities including Kwaga, Kwanan-Shehu, Unguwan Liman and Unguwan Shekarau to pay levies amounting to N12 million (N3 million each) in order for them to be allowed to continue harvesting their crops.
“These communities are given only grace of coming Friday 30/9/2022 to meet the condition, failure of which the bandits vowed to kidnap any person found at farm.”
The statement said the helpless communities have started making contributions based on their farm size to meet the condition and the dateline.
The BEPU appealed to the Nigerian government to come to the aid of the helpless farming communities in order to allow them free access to their farms and harvest their crops without any harm or intimidation.