By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT NASIR, Gusau
The Chairman Dansadau Farmers Association in Zamfara State, Alhaji Yau Muhammad Dansadau has warned that if drastic steps are not taken by the federal government to end banditry, famine might hit the county.
Dansadau who is a big time farmer who before the commencement of banditry activities in Zamfara State harvests over 10,000 bags of grains annually, gave the warning on Saturday in Gusau during an interaction with journaliats.
He lamented that the killings and wanton destruction being carried by the bandits in the state and other places in the country is gradually turning farming into a dangerous venture.
Dansadau said if the spate of sporadic attacks on farmers by bandits is not checkmated by government both state and federal government, farmers will have no other option than to abandon farming as a means of saving themselves from being killed or maimed by the bandits.
“Before the advert of banditry activities in the state, I used to harvested at least 10,000 bags of grains but unfortunately in the last two three years my production output reduced to a very bad one as low as 1300 bags which was what I cultivated last year.
“Even the 1300 bags which i produced last year was done by proxy because I personally not for once visited the farms to avoid being killed or kidnapped by the bandits.
“In one of the farm which is about 4 kilometres from Dansadau to east, a farm land which is about 33 hectare where I normally cultivate at least 1200 bags of grains but due the nefarious activities of the bandits, I got only about 160 bags as the bandits made thier cows to eat and destroy majority of my yield.
“Among my farming contemporaries, I am even the only one who was able to produce over 1,000 bags, one or two others got less than 600 bags while majority could not even farm due to insecurity,” he lamented.
Dansadau lamented that as at April when preparation for the year’s farming season is supposed to be at its peak, there is still no any visible sign that farming is going to take place in the state due to the rampant cases of bandits attacks.
“At this period when preparation for farming season is supposed to be at it peak, see me sitting in Gusau instead of being at my farm in Dansadau.
“I think from all indications my production will be zero production because if the bandits like what they did last year to come from their bushes and move as far as less than 2 kilometres to Dansadau then who am I to contemplate trying to farm and put my life in danger.
“Look at me! living here as refugee , if not because of security challenges,I could have been in my farm at this period doing land clearing and other things to get set for the rains yo begin and kick start farming and not be here in Gusau doing nothing,” he said.
The farmer explained that places and villages where the big farm lands are located are not more accessible due to the fear of bandits operating in the areas and therefore the need for proactive security measures to be put in place to protect the lives and properties of the farmers and all Nigerians.
“If the rate of the killings of farmers by bandits is not stopped then the country is heading towards feminine like Somalia as there would be nobody to produce food for the peoples consumption.
Dansadau charged the state and federal government to redouble its efforts at ending all forms of banditry to enable farmers go to the farm and produce food.
“To avoid the feminine in the country governments at the the state and federal levels must do all it can to crush all forms of criminality in the country as without security no how farmers both large scale and peasant farmers can go to farm to produce food.
He chided the government particularly the Zamfara state government for failing in providing adequate security for the people describing the dialogue with bandits imitative as a sign of failure.
“The state governor himself once said if the security agencies were capable of ending banditry in the state, his administration would not have initiated the dialogue with bandits option.
“I suggest that people be allowed to defend themselves against the bandits to reduce the burden on the security agencies who have shown that they alone cannot provide adequate security for all people of the country.
“I believe with adequate security in the country, we Nigerian farmers can produce our food requirements and even export surplus to other countries,” he assured.