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WIKKIDATA: In Three Years, Farmers in the Northwest Paid ₦139.45 Million to Bandits as Levies

A report conducted by SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused geopolitical research firm, shows that the farmers in the Northwest have paid at least ₦139.45 million to bandits as levies on farm crops between 2020 and 2023.

The report titled ‘Levies or Lives – The Dilemma Of Farmers In Northern Nigeria,’ SBM Intelligence, revealed that the bandits demanded N224.92 million but recorded N139.45 million as thee amount paid by the farmers.

Since September 2021, the Nigerian military has been in counterterrorism operations across the North West, targeting especially areas in states such as Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara.

The firm also explained that the ongoing inflation is primarily attributed to security challenges in Nigeria, noting that due to extensive commitments stemming from years of insurgency nationwide, the military’s presence in many farming communities remains limited, providing an opportunity for bandits to exploit.

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The escalating extortion tactics employed by bandits, particularly pre-harvest fees, were expected to exacerbate inflation rates.

It added that unlike imposing fixed rates, bandits charge levies based on harvest volume, increasing the financial burden on farmers.

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WikkiTimes reports that bandits in the Norhwest states persitently extorting local farmers in the communities by exposing levies on them before they were allowed to harvest.

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Despite the levies, some farmlands were nonetheless taken over by the bandits or abandoned by the farmers over security concerns.

As bandits seek greater control of territories and revenue streams, they may provoke territorial disputes and clashes among themselves, local communities, and of course security forces.

Consequently, farming, once a vital source of livelihood for many villagers, faces a decline due to heavy taxation. Many local farmers may abandon farming altogether in pursuit of alternative means of sustenance.

For SBM, this potential shift could embolden bandit groups to seize additional territory, further criminalizing farming practices and jeopardizing food security.

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