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Boko Haram: Garba Shehu reacts to backlash over comments on slain Zabarmari farmers





President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Monday reacted to the backlash he received over his comment on Boko Haram’s killing of rice farmers in Borno State.

Shehu had said the murdered farmers never got clearance from the military to go out farming.

Speaking with BBC Hausa, Garba had said although he was not blaming the victims for the incident, the truth must be said.

His remark had generated some mixed reactions from Nigerians who lambasted him for making such comments.

Reacting to the backlash, the president’s spokesman explained that his remark was based on military intelligence report on the area the incident occurred.

In a series of tweets, Shehu disclosed that military reports had it that “Zabarmari marshlands are infested with land mines and movement in around those areas is subject to military oversight.”

According to Shehu: “Today, I found myself leading the trends in the social media for the wrong reasons.

“The State of Borno is essentially a military zone up till now that we are talking and much of what people do; much of where they go are governed by the exigencies of security.

“Routinely, traders, administration officials and even UN agencies get the green light to go to many of the areas to avoid trouble.

“Information from security agencies says that the Zabarmari marshlands are infested with land mines and movements in around those areas subject to military oversight.

“No one is delighted with the massacre in Zabarmari and there is nothing anybody will gain by playing blame games.

“The question I tried to answer on BBC was: did the security sign off on the area as being free of mines and terrorists? The honest answer is, no.

“I’m human with tons of compassion and empathy, and could not have said that the victims deserved their fate for ignoring security clearance.

“I was merely explaining the mode of military operations in the war zone of the Northeast. There are areas that are still volatile that require security clearance which is intended to put people out of harm’s way.

“When tragedies occur, questions arise in terms of how something happened in order to avoid future recurrence. Informing the military of our movements in an area of volatility and uncertainty is intended to preserve public safety.

“Explaining why something happened doesn’t mean I have no sympathy for the victims. I was just explaining the military procedures on the safe movement of the people and not supporting the death of the victims.”

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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