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Farmers Pay ‘Harvest Fees’ To Terrorists In Zamfara State As Famine Looms Over Northern Nigeria

A report by BBC Hausa Service has revealed how farmers in Zamfara State pay terrorists as much as 800,000 Naira before they could be allowed to harvest their crops. 

One of the farmers in Dan Kurmi village of Maru Local Government Area, told the BBC Hausa that the terrorists imposed a tax on him before allowing him to cultivate his land. 

“They imposed 800,000 on us before they allowed us to harvest our crops, and we paid,” he said. 

According to the BBC Hausa, the majority of farmers in the villages of Zamfara paid some amounts to the terrorists before they could access their farms. 


Although farmers in villages like Duhuwar Saulawa, Duhuwar Maikulungu, Bauɗi, Zagadi, Doka da Tungar Makeri gave large amount of money to the terrorists, they still get kidnapped when they go to their farms. 

Some of the farmers interviewed by the BBC Hausa said the terrorists have developed new tactics of stealing the farm produce in other villages. 

“Like what happened in Duhuwar Maikulungu after one of the farmers collected ten sacks of suya beans. 

“After everything was done, the terrorists attacked the farmers and went away to produce the farm,” one of the farmers narrated. 

The farmers said they lost farm produce worth millions of Naira to the insecurity ravaging their villages and hindering them from farming activities. 

“Although people in Duhuwa Saulawa paid more than 300,000 Naira but they could not have access to their farms. 

“Beans and rice produce can be seen everywhere and ready to be harvested but are not reachable,” a farmer said. 

The spokesman of Police in Zamfara State, SP Muhammed Shehu, called the farmers to stop paying the harvest money to the terrorists. 

He said paying the money makes the terrorists stronger and pushes them to keep attacking the farmers. 

“We are always calling people to stop paying because that will make the gunmen request for more,” Shehu said. 

The farmers have however said there is nothing they could do if they stop paying since the government failed to protect them and their properties. 

Northern Nigeria Facing Famine – UN 

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Northern Nigerian is facing famine due to a combination of factors that include conflict and insecurity. 

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impact of several crises which are eroding people’s ability to produce and access food, leaving them more and more at risk of the most extreme hunger.

“We need access to these populations to ensure they have food and the means to produce food and improve their livelihoods to prevent a worst-case scenario,” said the FAO’s Director of Emergencies and Resilience, Dominique Burgeon. 

“Once again, we face the risk of famine in four different parts of the world at the same time.

“When we declare a famine it means many lives have already been lost.

“If we wait to find that out for sure, people are already dead,”  the WFP director of Emergencies, Margot Van der Velden, clarified. 

She added, “In 2011, Somalia suffered a famine that killed 260,000 people.

“The famine was declared in July but most people had already died by May.

“We cannot let this happen again, we have a stark choice, urgent action today or unconscionable loss of life tomorrow,” she warned.


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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu is a senior reporter, researcher and a fact-checker. He heads the extremism and radicalisation desk. Tweets: @Aliyussufiy

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