Bandits have resorted to collecting beer as levies from farmers before allowing them to harvest crops in the Ardo-Kola local government area of Taraba State.
A senior civil servant in Jalingo, who preferred anonymity, told our correspondent that he was compelled to buy beer worth over N200,000 before he was allowed to harvest his Benniseed farm
He said the levy imposed by the bandits ranges from N20,000 to N100,000 depending on the size of the farm.
“ I paid with beer worth N200,000 before getting access to my farm,” he said.
The farming communities where the levy was imposed by the bandits include Baka, Kasakuru, Majowere, Digun, Nyapori, Buzi, Dare, and Sakala.
A resident in the local government area, Mallam Dantala Bello told Daily Trust that farmers have become used to paying the levy to the bandits before harvest.
“Some abandon their farms if they are levied too much and project that they can’t recover the amount after harvest,” he said.
Another source in the area said the bandits were working with informants to get information on people coming to harvest their farms in the area.
“Most of the farmers that farm in Baka, Kwando, and other areas reside in Jalingo and whenever they come to work on their farms, the informants alert the bandits and quickly come down from the mountains to surround the innocent farmers,” he said.
The source revealed that bandits move freely in groups with their arms during the day and night.
Meanwhile, Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State has directed the 16 local government council chairmen to ensure that the security of life and property in their domains remains their priority.
Kefas gave the order yesterday at the government house, Jalingo, during his maiden meeting with newly elected local government council chairmen.
He told them that they should work with security agents to secure their respective areas.