Nigeria: Bandits Remain Our Nightmare Not COVID-19, Say Kaduna Villagers

(file photo).

Rural dwellers in remote villages of Kaduna State said their major nightmare was bandits who are terrorising them and not COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the villagers, who spoke to Arewa Trust, said many of them have abandoned their farms for fear of being kidnapped or killed by bandits.

A community leader in Udawa town in Chikun Local Goverment Area, Malam Umaru Imam said bandits have taken over their farms.

He listed villages around Chikun with security challenges as Damba, Dande, Labi, old Udawa, Hayin Mato, Tarugu, Anguwar Wakili.

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Others are Rimi, Dikwana, Farar Kasa, Kababbago, Aj‎ayi, Koko Marinai, Manini, Kuriga North and Kuriga South.

"Farming will be difficult in these villages and we can say that there will not be farming in these places. So for us here we are more afraid of AK 47 which the bandits use than COVID-19 .

"This is because the total number of people killed by coronavirus in Nigeria were just equivalent to what bandits killed in just seven days in these communities.

"My farm has been set ablaze by the bandits as we speak. This year I can't go to the farm because of the bandits," he said.

Another farmer in Birnin Gwari, Malam Hudu, also expressed concern about possibility of farming this year.

"We are afraid of going to our farms this year because all our cows have been stolen by these bandits. So for us here, these bandits are the virus killing us not the real COVID-19," he said.

He said a large number of cows were rustled by bandits in Kwasakwasa, Anguwar Gara, Anguwar Kanawa, Anguwar Makera.

Others are Angwar Gandu old Kuyello, Manda, Sado, Geza, Maraban Kachini, karanbatu and Kachini ‎.

He said in some villages, the bandits rustled between 100 and 150 cows in a day, adding that they usually come in large number on motorbikes and heavily armed.

Recently, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said government was concerned about the looming food insecurity due to banditry in some rural communities.

He pointed out that no doubt without collaboration against bandits attacking rural communities in the state, there would be famine.

Aruwan said information sharing with security agencies would ensure prompt response in tackling bandits who sack communities and displace farmers via kidnapping and other forms of banditry.

When contacted, Kaduna State Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said the command was taking the battle to the bandits camps to neutralise their activities.

"For now we are gathering intelligence information about their locations and how they operate, and very soon we will reach out," he said.

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