The Senior Special Assistant to the President of Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, says farmers killed in Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday did not get clearance from the military to go to their farms.
Shehu stated this while speaking during an interview with the BBC on Monday.
According to him, the farmers and residents ought to get military clearance before visiting certain areas.
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.”
Responding to a question if he was blaming the farmers on the attack, Shehu said: “Not exactly, but the truth has to be said. Is there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas? Did anybody ask to resume activities? I have been told by the military leaders that they have not been so advised.”
The presidential spokesman added that terrorists had planted land mines in several places in Borno State and nobody ought to go to these places until the military has cleared such places.
“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,” he added.