The Presidency has said the farmers slaughtered by the Boko Haram terrorists on a rice field in Zabarmari, Borno State over the weekend did not obtain military clearance before resuming farming activities in the area.
Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, stated this while speaking to BBC Newsday.
He noted that by refusing to obtain military clearance the farmers exposed themselves to one of the strongholds of the insurgents yet to be taken over by the military.
He said the federal government was sad about the tragic incident, but added that the “people need to understand what it is like in the Lake Chad Basin area.”
Shehu claimed that though much of the area which used to be under Boko Haram control have been liberated, there are still a number of spaces that have not been cleared for the return of villagers who have been displaced.
“The truth has to be said. Was there any military clearance from the military who are in total control of the area?” Mr. Shehu queried. “Did anybody ask to resume activity?”
Shehu emphasised that he had been briefed by military authorities that the villagers did not seek military advice before exposing themselves to “a window that the terrorists have exploited.”
“So ideally, all of these places ought to probably be allowed to pass through proper military clearance before resettlement or even farmers resuming activities on those fields,” he said.
Contrary to the 43 announced by the Nigerian troops who visited the scene of the slaughter executed by the terrorists, the United Nations had reported that about 110 fatalities were recorded.
The Defence Headquarters had, however, faulted the UN claim, insisting that only 43 people were killed.