The Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu has faced backlash from Nigerians following his comment on farmers killed by Boko Haram.
Garba Shehu while in an interview with the BBC, said that the 43 farmers that were killed by the insurgents Boko Haram on Saturday did not get military clearance to be on the rice farms when the attack happened.
But that statement from Mallam Shehu did not go down well with some Nigerians, who accused the presidential spokesman of blaming the farmers by rationalizing their deaths.
Nigerians on Twitter took to the social media platform to slam Garba Shehu accusing him of justifying the killings.
@chinaza_best said “This is the highest level of incompetence. Blaming the dead for going to their farms while you enjoy with your family in Abuja? Karma MUST catch up with you Garba. Those killed were people’s parents, breadwinners. Remember you will not be in poor forever. Shame on you!”
@NonyelumN “I think @MBuhari should honourably resign now. People who speak for you don’t use their heads and people who are working for you has failed. So it’s your responsibility sir. I suggest you step down.”
@1MrPresido “Again, one of the angry birds spilling slime. It is unforgettable what APC has done to this country. Imagine a country where you need military clearance to go and farm, and they said the country has been freed from BH. How did we get here? Food insecurity is looming.”
@ibrahimabdurr20 “Big for nothing! Wicked person! Are we going to kill our self waiting for permission to get food?Disappointed but relieved face”
@flowfemmy “Garba Shehu.. This government has an expiry date, how do u, Femi Adeshina and Lai Mohammed intend to face Nigerians after u have been booted out of power. There’s a day or reckoning and it would be soon!!!”
In the interview, Shehu said, “The government is sad that this tragic incident has happened. 43 or thereabout of innocent farm workers , most of them had their throats slit by a heartless band of terrorists. People need to know what it is like in the Lake Chad Basin area.
“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.”
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.”
Garba Shehu went further saying that the terrorists had planted land mines in several places in Borno State and nobody ought to go to these places until the military has cleared such places.
He said, “The military is not present in every inch of space in that area . Even if the people are willing to go back, a lot of those areas have been mined and mine clearance needs to be carried out and those areas must be cast as being okay for human habitation or agricultural activity.”