WorldStage NewsOnline—-All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) on Thursday said the high rate of banditry and kidnappings in the Northwest of Nigeria may affect food production in the area by over 50 per cent.
The groups in interviews said the criminal activities were wiping out family incomes and destroying the economy.
They noted that already, bandits had displaced more than 10,000 households, mostly peasant farmers, in Zamfara, while in Kebbi, the hub of rice farming in Nigeria, no fewer than 350 farmers had been forced to abandon their farms by the criminals.
The Secretary of AFAN in Kebbi, Muhammad Idris said banditry had affected farmers and cattle breeders.
“Over 350 farmers have been affected as a result of the banditry in Danko/Wasagu, Argungu, Yauri, Ngaski, Zuru and Birnin Kebbi local government areas.
” Our members, especially rice farmers, have stopped going to their farmlands in those areas for fear of being kidnapped or killed.
“Rice farming is not like any other farming as it requires constant and close monitoring; you have to be closer and observant of how it grows and the level of water and all that, hence you have to be going to the farm everyday if not, it will not yield positive result,” he said.
Idris urged the security agencies to be on the watch and take action against any suspicious character in the state and also solicited the involvement of National Union of Road Transport Workers to tackle the menace.
“If the drivers are involved, they can alert the security agencies of any suspicious person they transport and the security agencies will in turn follow the suspect based on the drivers’ tip-off and make necessary investigation,” he advised.
The secretary added that traditional rulers should be involved to ensure a holistic approach in dealing with the criminals.
The Commissioner of Police in Kebbi, Garba Danjuma, said the command had been working hard to stamp out all forms of crime in the state.
“We have made some frantic efforts in reducing crime and criminalities, especially in the cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and other heinous crimes,” he said.
According to him, the command recently arrested over 21 suspected kidnappers and investigating them.
“I enjoin members of the public to always avail the police with timely and accurate information about any suspicious persons with assurance that all information given will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” the police commissioner said.