Farming communities in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, are distressed as terror groups operating in about five local government areas are demanding levy before they are allowed to access their farms in preparation for the farming season.
Terrorists are asking the communities in Anka, Birnin Magaji, Bakura, and Zurmi Local Government Areas, including Dansadau in Maru to oblige with the demands to pay the levy and have a hitch-free farming season in their respective farmlands, or face attack, HumAngle has learnt.
A resident who simply gave his name as Manuga told HumAngle that terrorists operating in Bakura Local Government Area of the state made the demand through a telephone call to a resident in one of the affected communities.
He said that two communities in the local government have been asked to make a payment of N12 million within a space of three weeks.
“Prior to this notice, the terrorist group located in Faggi forest that leads to Shinkafi, Gandi forest axis, tasked Faggi community to pay N7 million in March 2021,” revealed Hamza Bakura, another source familiar with the development.
“So also, the group billed Dankaiwa District, they asked the villagers to pay N15 million in early Dec. 2020.”
HumAngle learnt that residents of Rumu, Doka, Tangaran, Jarkuka and Tungar-Nabarau villages of Wuya ward in Anka Local Government Area of the state have vacated their respective communities after what they described as unbearable levies by the terrorists.
Findings in Zurmi Local Government Area revealed that the farmers from Nasarawa Mailayi, Kiyawa, Gusami Gari, and Gusami Hayi are currently being denied access to their farms in the outskirts of their villages.
In Dansadau District of Maru Emirate, farmers told HumAngle that they have continued to receive threats from different terror groups demanding to make similar concessional payments to access their farming without hindrance.
However, some villagers said they have resolved not to yield to the demands of the terrorists. One of them noted that despite the threats by the terror groups, they resolved and vowed not to pay any penny to them for seasonal farming exercises to hold.
“Few among us who can afford the costs farm at our farms. For instance, if 20 labourers are to work at my farm, I then hire 50 of our local vigilante group to guard the workers while they work in order to repel any attack from terrorists,” Bala said.
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