Comments On Slain Farmers : I Didn't Say Victims Deserved Their Fate - Shehu Garba - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Monday, November 30, 2020

Comments On Slain Farmers : I Didn't Say Victims Deserved Their Fate - Shehu Garba

 • Victims

From Jane Okafor, Abuja

Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Shehu Garba, has lamented that he found himself dominating the trending matters on social media on Monday for the "wrong reasons" following his comments on the slain Borno rice farmers.

Garba said he is human with tons of compassion and could not have said or meant that the 43 rice farmers slaughtered by the insurgents on Saturday, deserved the cruel fate that befell them.

About 43  innocent farm workers, most of them had their throats slit by a heartless band of terrorists, on Saturday around the Lake Chad Basin area.

But the Buhari's aide in an interview granted BBC earlier today, was quoted by both the traditional and social media news outlets to have said that the affected farmers did not get clearance from the military before going to their farms or engaged in farming activities around the Lake Chad Basin, a development that drew the ires of and scathing condemnations from Nigerians on social media.

However, reacting to the negative fallout this evening, Garba said no one was delighted with the massacre in Zabarmari, stressing that there was nothing anybody would gain by playing blame games with the saddening incident.

He explained that what he was merely trying to give honest answer to the question on BBC : did the security sign off on the area as being free of mines and terrorists?

"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," he stated on facebook page.

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