Starrys Obazei

Out of desperation of apparent Federal Government’s abandonment, farmers in Zamfara State are set to meet leaders of bandits in the state to negotiate their (farmers) protection and allow them to cultivate their farmland.

Recall that farmers and residents of some communities in the northern part of the country had said they had been paying levies and taxies to suspected bandits in order to avoid being attacked by the hoodlums.

The farmers, who spoke under the auspices of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Zamfara State chapter, told Saturday PUNCH that their meeting with the bandits was expected to hold on Saturday, August 20, 2022.

AFAN Public Relations Officer, Abdulhafiz Alkali, on Thursday, lamented that the Federal Government seemed to have abandoned them to their fate and jettisoned any idea of providing security for farmers.

He said, “What I know about protection with the farmers is just the negotiation between the bandits and the farmers. I am living in Zamfara State now. I know that there will be a meeting by this coming Saturday between the farmers and the bandits.

“We lost a lot of things in Zamfara State. We sent letters to the Federal Government to secure us five years ago after complaining that the bandits were disturbing us.

“We needed the intervention of the Federal Government but it never came. What we lost in the past seven to six years is between N30 billion to N50 billion on commodities only.

“Many people from different countries and states used to come to the Dansadua axis to buy commodities to the tune of over N50 billion in a year, but now, in a year, we get less than N2 billion to N3 billion.

“In Zamfara State, the commodities business was worth over N200 billion to N300bn, but these bandits interrupted the business. We wrote letters, we complained, but up till now, no response from the Federal Government.”

Meanwhile the Zamfara State Police command through its spokesperson, Muhammed Shehu said he is unaware of the development.

He said, “I am not aware that farmers are meeting bandits. But all I know is that the police in collaboration with the military have taken security measures to save guard farmlands to ensure farmers go to their farmlands and farm without any attack, without any threat from bandits.

“That is why the farmers are currently able to go to their farms. So, we are working tirelessly with other security agencies and vigilantes.

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