Monday, 30 November 2020

43 Massacred Farmers Did Not Get Military Clearance To Go To Farm..Buhari's Spokesman

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, has blamed the death of 43 rice farmers killed by Boko Haram in Zabarmari village of Borno State, on their failure to get military clearance before working on the field.

Shehu said this while speaking to the BBC on the tragic incident that occurred at the weekend.

 “The truth has to be said. Was there any military clearance from the military who are in total control of the area? 

Did anybody ask to resume activity?” Shehu demanded.

The presidential media aide claimed that the farmers did not get the instruction of the Nigerian Army securing that territory before carrying out their farming activities, and as such left the military in the dark before the tragedy struck.

“So ideally, all of these places ought to probably be allowed to pass through proper military clearance before resettlement or even farmers resuming activities on those fields.

“People need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad Basin area - a window that the terrorists have exploited,” he said.

The massacre of 43 farmers in Borno State at the weekend is one of many insecurity challenges that have continued to ravage the North-East region of the country.

Mr Shehu’s statement seems to reflect the alleged insensitivity of the Presidency to these worsening challenges that have spread to other parts of the country, including the recent kidnapping on the Abuja-Kaduna expressway.

Garba Shehu Tries To Clarify  His Comments

“Today, I found myself leading the trends in the social media for the wrong reasons.

“The State of Borno is essentially a military zone up till now that we are talking and much of what people do; much of where they go are governed by the exigencies of security.

“Routinely, traders, administration officials and even UN agencies get the green light to go to many of the areas to avoid trouble.

“Information from security agencies says that the Zabarmari marshlands are infested with land mines and movements in around those areas subject to military oversight.

“No one is delighted with the massacre in Zabarmari and there is nothing anybody will gain by playing blame games.

“The question I tried to answer on BBC was: did the security sign off on the area as being free of mines and terrorists? The honest answer is, no.

“I’m human with tons of compassion and empathy, and could not have said that the victims deserved their fate for ignoring security clearance.

“I was merely explaining the mode of military operations in the war zone of the Northeast.

“There are areas that are still volatile that require security clearance which is intended to put people out of harm’s way.

“When tragedies occur, questions arise in terms of how something happened in order to avoid future recurrence.

“Informing the military of our movements in an area of volatility and uncertainty is intended to preserve public safety.

“Explaining why something happened doesn’t mean I have no sympathy for the victims.

“I was just explaining the military procedures on the safe movement of the people and not supporting the death of the victims,” he said

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