Kebbi grain traders, farmers alleged extortion by security agents - DE-REPORTORIAL


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Monday, January 8, 2024

Kebbi grain traders, farmers alleged extortion by security agents

From Samaila Bayo, Birnin Kebbi

Grains taders at the border market of Tsamiya, Bagudo local government area of Kebbi State have alleged insenssant extortion by security agents at the various check points in the border area.

While narrating their ordeals to journalists at the Thursday border market in Tsamiya, a border town in Bagudo local government area of the state, the traders claimed they were being extorted on every market day by security agents stationed at the 77 check points along Tsamiya/Koko road to the tune of over N10m.
The Police has since denied the allegation while the Customs and Immigration said their bosses were not in office to respond to the allegation. The state police command public relations officer, SP Nafiu Abubakar said the command was not aware of the situation and has not received any letter from the market association on the alleged extortion. 

He said the police on Thursday heard of an incident that the Bagudo /Tsamiya road was blocked and the Commissioner of Police immediately ordered the Area Commander to look into it. "The Area Commander has intervened and the situation had been calmed. He is still investigating the incident. We don't know if it was caused by extortion until we receive the report of the investigation", the PPRO said.
But the chairman, Grains Suplliers Association in Bagudo local government area of the state, Alhaji Rabiu Mainasara said large sum of money is being collected from traders while bringing their goods to the market.

He said "From Koko to Tsamiya there are over 77 check points. From Tsamiya to Benin republic border there are also 56 check points. We pay N650,000 on trailer load of grains, N200,000 on Counter vehicle, N150,000 on Mazda load, N77,000 on pick-up load and N61,000 on First lady load of grains.

"N500 is being paid on a 5kg load of grains carried on a motorcycle before passing through the check points. Boys known as 'camp boys' are assigned to mark the motorcycles as they pass through the check points".

"We hardly get get profit from the grains we bring to the market. People come to this market from Ilorin, Niger,Jigawa, Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna Lagos, Ibadan and from neihhbouring countries of Benin and Niger republic to buy grains but we pay heavily to bring our grains to the market", he said.

Collaborating Mainasara's claims, a community leader and one time councilor in the area, Alhaji Abubakar Usman Tsamiya said the extortion by security agents is affecting the earnings of the traders. He explained that some of them are farmers who had committed huge resources to farming and harvesting the produce but were not allowed to get any profit from it. 

"We have written to heads of the various security agents in the state on excesses of their men and officers at the check points. But instead of things to change its getting worse. 

"We didn't want our people to take laws into their hands that's why we wrote to them and as well appeal to them to caution their officials. They are suffocating our traders with excessive extortion", he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Chairman Rice traders association in Bagudo local government, Alhaji Usman Bala said the Tsamiya border market serves not only people across the country but neighbouring countries of Niger and Benin republic. 

"We lost over N10m to extortion on every market day. We had complained to heads of security agencies, police, customs, immigration and the civil defence. 
Earlier, the Caretaker District Head of Tsamiya, Alhaji Umar I. Magini called on the various security agencies in the state to look into the plight of the market traders. He said the township road is always congested every market day due to vehicular and human traffic. He said government should help to expand the market or relocate it to a more convenient place in the area.

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