June, 22

TruthNigeria Quantifies the Annual Loss to Farmers of Terrorist Gang Extortion

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Criminal Gang Control of Northwest Nigeria.

Middle Belt States of Nigeria

In the Big Farming State of Zamfara Farmers Hand Over $10 Million to Crime Lords Before Crops go to market.

This ground-breaking study on gangster taxation in Zamfara State is shocking but just a parsimonious representation of the total picture of what crop farmers suffer in the hands of Fulani gangsters.”

— Jonathan Sunday Akuns, former CBN Board Member

KADUNA CITY, KADUNA, NIGERIA, April 5, 2024 / — Although the government of Nigerian never talks about it, a key driver of hunger in this agriculturally rich nation is criminal extortion of farmers.

TruthNigeria, a new investigative platform funded through charitable donations from American church goers, has now put a number on the total amount of wealth farmers in one big state are forced to pay annually to terrorists: the equivalent of $10 million.

That may not seem like a lot to citizens of the West, but in war-torn Nigeria, where 88 million people live on just a few dollars a day, it is enough to force some farmers to try their hand at other work. The researchers at TruthNigeria talked to farmers rich and small and community leaders in all counties of Zamfara State over months and made a calculation of the aggegated wealth taken each year from hard-working farmers. The crime lords who extract payments from vulnerable farmers include the infamous Bello Turji, who commands hundreds of mercenaries in Zamfara State and many surrounding states.

Other media have taken a close look at the problem. CGTN TV News reported in early March 2024 that many farmers in Northern States of Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara and Jigawa have scaled back their planted acres, resulting in dramatically reduced output as a result of the extortion. Some farmers were forced to stop farming altogether.

Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime reported in 2022 that criminal kidnapping gangs raked in more profits from extorting farmers than from kidnapping for ransom.

Scholars in Nigeria and the United States React

Jonathan Sunday Akuns, a former director of the Central Bank of Nigeria welcomed the report by TruthNigeria: “This ground-breaking study on gangster taxation in Zamfara State is shocking but just a parsimonious representation of the total picture of what crop farmers suffer in the hands of Fulani gangsters across the length and breadth of Nigeria. I commend your TruthNigeria for bringing this gangster taxation up in numbers for the attention of policy makers.”

Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Founding President of Genocide Watch, said the study by TruthNigeria is a sign that Nigeria could fall into another bloody civil war:
“This systematic study of extortion of farmers by criminal gangs proves how seriously law enforcement has failed in Nigeria,” Stanton has written.
“Christian farmers in Plateau, Benue, and other states are victims of genocide by Fulani jihadists. Their villages and churches are attacked and burned and their families are massacred. Civil war will break out if the Nigerian government is unable to stop criminals and jihadists.”

Douglas Gray Burton
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Originally published at

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- Part of VUGA - Global Media Coverage

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