Nigerian Govt Contradicts Self, Says 43 Slain Farmers Needed Clearance to Go to Farm
The office of Nigeria’s president has contradicted itself on its earlier claims that Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated in the country, saying now that farmers in Borno State needed to get clearance before going to their farms.
The government said the 43 Nigerian rice farmers killed in Zabarmari, Borno State on Saturday should take the blame for their own death.
President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in an interaction with the BBC on Monday that the military hierarchy told him the slaughtered farmers did not get military clearance before going to their farms.
“The truth has to be said. Is there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas? Did anybody ask them to resume activities? I have been told by the military leaders that they have not been so advised.”
Shehu said the farmers should have waited for military clearance before embarking on farming.
“People need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad area. Much of those areas have been liberated by Boko Haram terrorists but there are a number of spaces that have not been cleared for the return of villagers who have been displaced.
“Ideally, all of these places ought to probably be allowed to pass the test of military clearance before settlers or even farmers resume activities on those fields.”
This statement from Shehu was alien to Nigerians who the federal government has kept telling that they have decimated and “technically defeated” the Boko Haram terrorists. Nigerians do not know that going to their farms require security clearance from the military.
Many have also questioned if this mindset was responsible for the alleged aloofness of the military when the attacks were carried out.
Recall that residents have alleged that the military had prior knowledge of the terrorist attacks and withdrew their troops, leaving Nigerians to their fates in the hands of their killers.
The presidential spokesman said though the military is in “full control” of all parts of Borno, the farmers and residents ought to get clearance before visiting certain areas.
Shehu has been called out by Nigerians on his position, which they said was recklessly contradictory.
A Kano-based lawyer, Alhaji Ibrahim told Nigerian Sketch that “This is a huge contradiction. If they told us they have defeated the Boko Haram and are in full control of all parts of Borno, why do the people need military clearance before they can go to their farms.
“This man lacks basic intelligence I believe. If the military are in full control, one would expect that as the people go to farm, they will meet officers on their way, and if there is an attack, response would be quick.
“In any case, this is Nigeria where everyone would just come out and say whatever they like and go free”, he said.