Nigeria Government Blames Massacred Farmers For Not Getting Military Clearance
Concerning the 100 farmers who were slaughtered by Boko Haram terrorist, the Nigerian government has subtly blamed the deceased farmers. The government says that the killing was as a result of the slain farmers' failure to carry out due diligence and on not obtaining a military clearance before commencing work on their farms.
The Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu has told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Monday that though the military is in “full control” of all parts of Borno, the farmers and residents ought to get clearance before visiting certain areas. However, the question is 'Is that a justifiable reason for the loss of lives?'
After some terrorists had attacked Zabarmari, about 20 kilometers from Maiduguri on a weekend, 45 farmers were found dead with their throats slit. The united Nations described this attack as“the most violent attack” targeted at civilians in 2020.
“People need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad region, 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 told the BBC.
When asked if he was not blaming the farmers for going to the area, Shehu responded, “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.”
Clearly, the presidential spokesman said that visiting certain places affected for more than 10 years by the insurgence of Boko Haram, is "a window that the terrorists have exploited.”
“The military is not present on every inch of space in that area and even if the people are ready to go back, some of these areas have been mined and mine clearance has to be carried out first.”
On Monday, The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, took exception to a comment credited to Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who while fielding questions from the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, asked if the 100 farmers beheaded by Boko Haram insurgents obtained a military clearance before venturing into the bush where they met their untimely death. The party in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said that Shehu's statement is “a statement, which is also an admission that the Buhari administration has been overwhelmed by terrorists and can no longer guarantee our compatriots a normal life.” The PDP expressed that they were outraged by the Buhari Presidency’s claims that the farmers were killed because they failed to get clearance before going to their farms.
No fewer than 48 farmers on Saturday were attacked and killed in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State by members of the Boko Haram insurgents.
What Actions Were Taken?
On Thursday, December 3rd, the family of the 100 slain Borno farmers were compensated with N600,000 each by the state government. The shared fund came from combined support of N20 million by the Northern Governors’ Forum and N5 million by the North East Development Commission. The food items shared to the slain deceased farmers' families was distributed by a committee assigned by Governor Babagana Zulum.
The committee chaired by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Saina Buba, undertook the distribution in Zabarmari to the families of the slain Borno farmers. Mr Buba noted that the intervention was in a bid to reduce hardship of the families of the slain Borno farmers as as result of the loss of their breadwinners.
The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, also donated a total of 13,000 bags of rice, maize and beans, 1,300 cans of vegetable oil, 2116 cartons of seasoning cubes, 1,083 sachets of tomato and 650 sachets of salt, to the families of the slain Borno farmers.
Every Farmer deserves a freedom to live, farm and take care of their families without being given such kind of death sentences. No form of compensation can replace the loss of the breadwinner in a family.