Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu

Farmers killed by Boko Haram didn’t have clearance to farm- FG

The Presidency has stated that the 43 farmers that were beheaded by Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday did not have military clearance to be on the rice farms where the attack happened.

This was disclosed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview with BBC on Monday.

Shehu 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.

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“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 that he was not exactly blaming the victims for the incident, “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.”

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Furthermore, according to Shehu, terrorists had planted land mines in several places in Borno State and it was unsafe for anybody to go to such places until the military had cleared them.

He added, “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.”

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