As the insecurity occasioned by rural banditry bites harder, some residents of frontline local governments in Katsina State have either abandoned their farms or resort to forceful payment of taxes to bandits.
According to the Katsina State Government, some 5,884 farmlands were abandoned due to the attacks. From January to June 2021 alone, according to the government, 23,333 hectares of 2,924 farmlands have been abandoned.
In Danmusa Local Government, farmers mostly in Gurzar-Kuka, Mara, Dunya and other villages that are close to forests are either paying taxes to bandits to access their farms or forced to work on the farms of the criminals.
In an interview with Daily Trust, the District Head of Batsari, Alhaji Tukur Muazu, confirmed that no fewer than eight village heads in Batsari have fled their domains and now taking refuge in Katsina city.
“Nobody is leaving in these villages and the fringes of the forests except those that are either penniless or the bandits’ associates. They stopped farmers from farming and cattle are no longer there. Thousands of people have migrated to Batsari and the town is filled to the brim. This has jerked up rent as there are no more houses available for rent.
“As we share boundary with Zamfara State, most of these bandits cross over from there and commit atrocities in our land. Even if the bandits in our land are committed to a peace pact, what are we going to do with those who come from Zamfara? We only appeal to government to rise up to its responsibility and do the needful.”