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Northwest Farmers Pay N139.5 Million In Levies To Bandits, Report Reveals



Northwest Farmers Pay N139.5 Million In Levies to Bandits, Report Reveals

Farmers in the Northwest region of Nigeria reportedly paid the sum of N139.5 million in levies to bandits between 2020 and 2023, News About Nigeria reports.

The findings were disclosed in a report titled ‘Levies or Lives – The Dilemma Of Farmers In Northern Nigeria’ by SBM Intelligence, a geopolitical research firm focusing on Africa.

The report stated that these levies, imposed by bandits, are extracted from farmers as a prerequisite for accessing their farmlands.

The total amount imposed by the criminals was reported to be N224.9 million.

Farmers are compelled to pay these levies to safeguard their lives and livelihoods, as failure to comply may result in abduction, murder, or confiscation of their produce.

The report stated that the situation has made it increasingly challenging for those dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, exacerbating food availability and affordability issues in the country.

The impact also contributes to food insecurity and economic hardship, making life more difficult for the affected communities.

The SBM report said that the bandits’ extortion tactics, particularly pre-harvest fees, are likely to contribute to a surge in inflation rates.

Unlike fixed rates, these levies are reportedly based on the volume of the harvest.

Farmers have reportedly abandoned certain parts of their farms due to heavy taxation by these bandits, with the criminals charging levies based on the harvested volume.

The report called attention to the decade-long security crisis in Nigeria, which has worsened economic growth, especially in the agriculture sector. The impact of this crisis has been felt not only in the Northwest region but across the nation, with internal security challenges affecting various aspects of daily life.

The report urged urgent action to address the root causes of instability and prevent a worsening food crisis.

It stated that the government need to prioritise stabilising volatile areas, supporting victims, and addressing the looming food crisis to ensure the well-being of its citizens.