Bandits Demand Beer Levies from Farmers in Taraba State, Prompting Security Concerns

Communities in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area Forced to Pay Alcohol Fees to Harvest Crops

In a disturbing development in the Ardo-Kola local government area of Taraba State, bandits have reportedly resorted to collecting beer as levies from farmers, demanding payment before allowing them to harvest their crops.

According to a senior civil servant in Jalingo, who chose to remain anonymous, he was compelled to purchase beer amounting to over N200,000 before gaining permission to harvest his Benniseed farm. The bandit-imposed levy reportedly 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,” the civil servant revealed.

The affected farming communities include Baka, Kasakuru, Majowere, Digun, Nyapori, Buzi, Dare, and Sakala. Residents, including Mallam Dantala Bello, disclosed that farmers have reluctantly become accustomed to paying these levies to the bandits before being allowed to harvest their crops.

“Some abandon their farms if they are levied too much and project that they can’t recover the amount after harvest,” said Bello.

Sources in the area disclosed that bandits are collaborating with informants to gather information about individuals planning to harvest their farms. The informants reportedly alert the bandits, who then descend from the mountains to surround the unsuspecting farmers.

The bandits are said to move freely in groups, both during the day and night, posing a significant security threat to the affected communities.

In response to the escalating security concerns, Governor Agbu Kefas of Taraba State has issued a directive to the 16 local government council chairmen. During a meeting at the government house in Jalingo, the governor emphasized that ensuring the security of life and property in their respective domains should be their top priority. He urged them to collaborate with security agents to secure their areas and protect residents from such alarming incidents.

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