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Extortion By Security Operatives Driving Up Grain Prices In Kebbi, Cry Traders

Kebbi State Traders Cried Out

Extortion By Security Operatives Driving Up Grain Prices In Kebbi, Cry Traders

Traders in Kebbi State, Nigeria, are raising concerns about extortion by security operatives at checkpoints, leading to inflated grain prices. This practice, unfortunately, is not new and has been plaguing the region for some time.

Several traders and farmers in Kebbi State have raised concerns about alleged extortion by security operatives during the transportation of grains.

They expressed dismay over the exorbitant cost of N600,000 required to move a truckload of grains through checkpoints manned by various Nigerian security forces.

These security operatives include the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Nigerian Customs, and the Nigerian Immigration.

Tukur Muhammad, Secretary of Amana Farmers and Grains Suppliers, spoke to journalists in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, at the weekend, highlighting the alarming situation, particularly along Bagudo in the Bagudu Local Government Area.

He disclosed that marketers are compelled to pay N1000 for each 100kg bag of any grain.

He attributed the escalation in food prices and essential commodities to the extortion practised by security operatives in the area.

“At Tsamiya Market, a grain supplier loading a truck with 600 bags of maize or millet has to endure extortion of not less than N600,000 to reach Argungu and Birnin Kebbi,” said Muhammad.

“We pay N1000 per 100kg bag of grains loaded in trucks, and N500 for a bag on a motorcycle. Even when carrying nothing on a motorcycle for a market visit, an extortion fee of N300 is demanded.”

Muhammad noted that despite traders being blamed for high commodity prices, it’s the extortion that significantly contributes to the hikes.

Echoing similar sentiments, Rabi’u Mainasara, Chairman of the association, lamented the pervasive extortion tactics along the Bagudu-Tsamiya route, with approximately 44 checkpoints where traders and farmers are obligated to pay varying sums.

These checkpoints involve personnel from various agencies, such as the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Immigration Service, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Mainasara appealed to the state and federal governments, as well as the heads of relevant security agencies, to intervene promptly to prevent citizens from resorting to self-help.

Responding to these allegations, SP Nafi’u Abubakar, the police spokesperson in the state, denied awareness of the reported extortion. He assured an investigation into the matter and mentioned efforts taken to address similar incidents in the past along the Bagudu-Tsamiya Road. Abubakar pledged to await feedback from their commander in the area.

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