A federal government’s delegation led by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, arrived in Maiduguri, Borno State by mid-day on Monday on a condolence visit over the killing of farmers at the weekend by terrorists.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser (Media), to the Senate President, Ola Awoniyi, in Abuja, the delegation is in Borno, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government, to commiserate and identify with the family of the victims, the Government and the people of Borno State over the incident.
Members of the delegation include the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Ministers of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami and the Minister of State for Agriculture, Mustapha Baba Shehuri.
Other members are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu.
The delegation was received on arrival at the Airport by the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Umar Gadafu.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured commitment of the Federal Government in ending the insurgency.
He said government will ensure support to the military and improve bilateral relationships with neighbouring countries.
Senator Lawan added tat the armed forces are given a matching order to take the fight to the insurgency until they are completely wiped out of the country.
Meanwhile, a Senior Special Assistant to President on Media an Publicity, Garba Shehu, has been quoted to have said in an interview with BBC that the slain farmers did not \get clearance to work on the farm.
The presidential aide explained though the military is in “full control” of all parts of Borno, the farmers and residents ought to get clearance before visiting certain areas.
No fewer than 43 rice farmers were killed by Boko Haram in Zabarmari, about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, at the weekend.
The attack was described by the United Nations as “the most violent attack” targeted at civilians in 2020.
Shehu, however, blamed the farmers for the incident, saying they shouldn’t have gone to the farms without clearance.
According to him: “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.”
When the BBC clarified if he was blaming the farmers for the attack, Shehu said: “Not exactly, but the truth has to be said. Is there any clearance by the military which is in total control of those areas?