Murdered farmers didn’t have clearance to farm – Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu says the 43 rice farmers whose throats were slit by Boko Haram did not have military clearance to farm in the area.
He disclosed this Monday in an interview with the BBC, The Punch reported.
Shehu had signed a Saturday presidential statement describing the killings as “senseless” and “insane”.
He said, “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.”
However, he maintained that his assertion should not be misconstrued as victim-blaming.
Asked if his comment did not amount to blaming victims, Shehu said, “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.”
Explaining why military clearance to farm is important, Shehy stated, “The military is not present in every inch of space in that area. Even if the people are willing to go back, a lot of those areas have been mined and mine clearance needs to be carried out and those areas must be cast as being ok for human habitation or agricultural activity.”