Gombe farmers keep night vigil on their farms to protect crops

Farmers in Gombe State, Nigeria, are resorting to unconventional measures to protect their crops due to the increasing cases of theft of farm produce. Some of these measures include sleeping on their farms to keep vigil, while others are paying monthly fees ranging from N30,000 to N50,000 to vigilante groups to safeguard their farms, particularly as they prepare for the harvest season.

Investigations conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in various local government areas of the state, including Billiri, Yamaltu-Deba, Kaltungo, Nafada, Kwami, and Akko, revealed that farmers are maintaining 24-hour vigilance over their yet-to-be-harvested crops.

Nasiru Usman, a farmer, explained that he had temporarily relocated to his farm because he couldn’t afford to pay someone to watch over it. He expressed concern about the situation, especially since even the maize he planted around his house was not safe from theft.

Ayuba Ali, another farmer, noted that crop theft was a significant challenge faced by farmers in Billiri and surrounding villages. To protect their crops, some farmers are paying monthly fees to vigilantes, and others are choosing to stay on their farms at night to deter thieves.

Idris Garba, a rice farmer, shared that he had spent N100,000 in two months to hire two vigilantes to protect his farm day and night. He emphasized that this expenditure would continue until he harvests his produce.

Ibrahim Kashere, a multi-crop farmer, pointed out that crop theft was prevalent in their community, with over seven people caught stealing produce from others’ farms in the last 10 days. Hunger is cited as a significant factor driving these thefts.

Haruna Kwami, another farmer, stressed that no crop was immune to theft, and he advised fellow farmers to take measures to safeguard their farms or risk losing their investments.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Gombe, ASP Mahid Abubakar, mentioned that the police had not received formal complaints about these thefts but encouraged affected farmers to report such cases so that adequate security measures could be taken.

These reports shed light on the challenges faced by Nigerian farmers in protecting their crops and investments from theft, highlighting the need for improved security measures in agricultural areas.

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