Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu has said that the farmers who were killed by Boko Haram on Saturday did not have military clearance to resuming farming in Garin Kwashebe in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
KanyiDaily had reported how Boko Haram terrorists beheaded 43 rice farmers on Saturday in Zabarmari, less than 20 km from Maiduguri, where Nigerian Army has used as headquarters in the ongoing war against insurgency.
Although a member of the state Civilian Joint Task Force, Babakura Kolo, said 43 farmers were killed, the United Nations insisted that atleast 110 rice farmers lost their lives during the attack with some women also abducted by the terrorists.
Speaking during an interview with BBC on Monday, Garba Shehu blamed the slain farmers for their misfortune, saying they should have received military clearance before heading to the rice fields.
“The government is sad that this tragic incident has happened. 43 or thereabout of innocent farm workers, most of them had their throats slit by a heartless band of terrorists. People need to know what it is like in the Lake Chad Basin area.
“Much of those areas have been liberated from Boko Haram terrorists but there are a number of spaces that have not been cleared for the return of villagers who have been displaced. So, ideally, all of these places ought to pass the test of military clearances before farmers or settlers resume activities on those fields,” Shehu said.
When asked if he was blaming the farmers for going to the area, Shehu responded:
“Not exactly but the truth has to be said. Was there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas? Did anybody ask to resume activity?
“I have been told by the military leaders that they had not been so advised and certainly, therefore, it was a window that the terrorists exploited.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) has condemed the gruesome murder by Boko Haram, describing the killings as obnoxious, wicked, unwarranted, and morally reprehensible.