On Monday, November 30, the presidency revealed that the 43 farmers mercilessly murdered by Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday did not have military authorization to be in the rice plantations when the attack occurred.
The president’s chief special assistant for media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in an interview with the BBC on Monday.
He said that without blaming the victims for the incident, the truth must be told.
Shehu said: “The government is sad that this tragic incident has occurred. 43 or around innocent farm workers, most of whom were slaughtered by a gang of heartless terrorists. People need to know what the Lake Chad basin area is like.
“Many of those areas have been liberated from the 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 these places should pass the military clearance test before the farmers or settlers resume their activities in those fields. “
When asked if he was not blaming the farmers for going to the area, Shehu replied: “Not exactly, but the truth must be told. Was there any authorization from the military who have total control of those areas? Did anyone ask to resume activity? The military chiefs have told me that they had not been warned like this and certainly, therefore, it was a window that the terrorists exploited ”.
The president’s spokesman said terrorists had planted landmines at various locations in Borno state and that no one should go to those locations until the military has cleared them.
He added: “The army is not present in every inch of space in that area. Even if people are willing to go back, many of those areas have been mined and mine clearance must take place and those areas should be considered suitable for human habitation or agricultural activity. “