…10 women still missing, says Amnesty International
…Killing of farmers insane, says Buhari
…Massacre, most violent direct attack against civilians in 2020 — UN
…Redouble your efforts to end violent crimes in Nigeria, Lawan tells security agencies
…PDP condemns killings, tasks Buhari on security
…Ganduje’s aide condemns killings, says 24hrs after attack, nobody’s sacked, no action taken
…He should do the needful about endless killings in the North — ACF
By Henry Umoru, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Ndahi Marama, Dirisu Kadiri, Bashir Bello & Ibrahim HassanWuyo
Outrage yesterday trailed the massacre of 43 farmers/fishermen at Zabarmari community of Borno State by Boko Haram on Saturday.
The outrage came as Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, raised fresh alarm that Boko Haram remained very strong in most parts of the state, especially in Sambisa Forest, river fringes of Koshobe and the Lake Chad Basin, threatening over six million people in the state.
Among those who have reacted are President Muhammaduy Buhari, the United Nations, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, among others.
The victims were beheaded, with their heads placed behind the back
The killings came barely 48 hours after the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar 111, said the north had been taken over by bandits who kill and maim at will.
Zulum spoke after attending the mass burial of 43 rice farmers/fishermen slaughtered on Saturday in Koshobe in broad daylight at Zabarmari community by Boko Haram members.
This is even as global rights group, Amnesty International, insisted yesterday that 10 women working in the Kwashaba rice farm where the attack occurred were still missing.
Governor Zulum said though his administration has launched a security outfit, known as Agric -Ranchers, comprising the military, paramilitary and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, including hunters/vigilantes to safeguard farmers, there is need for the Federal Government and governments of border countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroun Republic to team up and address the lingering Boko Haram crisis in the region.
Zulum regrets worsening killings
He regretted the escalating killings perpetrated by armed insurgents in some parts of the state, and assured that his administration would soon recruit additional Civilian Joint Task Force personnel to complement efforts of security operatives in the fight against Boko Haram.
Zulum said: “With what happened in Koshobe/Zabarmari community yesterday (Saturday), I can admit that the dreaded Boko Haram sect is still existing strongly in many parts of our state, especially in the Sambisa Forest, river fringes of Koshobe and Lake Chad Basin posing threats to over six million people in the state.
“I strongly regret the escalating killings perpetrated by armed insurgents in some parts of the state. You have seen this morning (yesterday), we buried 44 recovered corpses according to Islamic rites.
“I was informed that over 70 farmers were slaughtered while harvesting their rice in Koshobe village, but as it is, more corpses are still lying there waiting for evacuation. I assure you that this administration will soon recruit additional Civilian Joint Task Force to complement efforts of the security operatives in the fight against Boko Haram.”
He, therefore, prayed Allah to grant eternal rest to the souls of the deceased and their families the fortitude to bear the irreparable lost.
Also speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Rice Farmers Association in Zabarmari, Mallam Hassam Maina, described the incident as a “deadly blow.”
He called on government and the security agencies to live up to their responsibility in protecting lives and property in the state.
10 women still missing, says Amnesty International
Also yesterday, global rights group, Amnesty International, said no fewer than 10 women working in the Kwashaba rice farm where Boko Haram slaughtered 43 persons, were still missing.
Amnesty, which stated this in a tweet, further stated that 16 of the 43 farmers killed were actually Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
The tweet read in part: “Boko Haram and other armed groups must renounce their unlawful and vicious campaign of violence against civilians. The Nigerian authorities, for their part, must do more to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators of all such attacks to justice.
“Amnesty International’s findings show that, of the 43 farmers slaughtered by Boko Haram yesterday, 16 were Internally Displaced Persons resident at Farm Centre IDP Camp, while 10 women working in Kwashabe rice farm are still missing after the attack.”
Killing of farmers in Borno insane, says Buhari
Reacting to the killings yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed grief over the killing of the farmers on rice farm, describing the terrorists’ action as insane.
Buhari, who noted that he had given all needed support to the armed forces to protect Nigerians, condemned the killing in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists in Borno State.
“The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls Rest In Peace.”
Massacre, most violent direct attack against civilians in 2020 — UN
In its reaction, the United Nations did not only condemn the killing but also described it as the most violent direct attack against civilians in 2020.
Edward Kallon, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement yesterday, said: “I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. Tens of civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he said
“I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the civilians who lost their lives in this atrocious attack. I also wish a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the incident.
“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety.
“My thoughts are also with the rural communities in the area, who are shocked by the brutality of yesterday’s attack and fear for their safety.
“The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State is outraged by the incident. Such direct attacks against innocent civilians jeopardize the ability for the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity there are facing, and which we are striving to alleviate.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice.”
While noting that such attacks could worsen the food crisis already being experienced in Borno, Kallon called on the government to ensure adequate protection of residents in the state.
“It is unfortunately one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunity after over a decade of conflict.
“I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity.
“Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships. Helping them to farm land and rebuild livelihoods are amongst our priorities and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in Borno State. They and all other civilians need to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.
“Innocent women, children and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times,” the UN Coordinator said.
Redouble your efforts to end mindless violent crimes in Nigeria, Lawan tells security agencies
Reacting in a similar manner, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, called on the security agencies to redouble their efforts to bring an end to the mindless violent crimes where lives are taken without any consideration.
He promised that the National Assembly would continue to support the executive in strengthening the security agencies to improve the security of lives and property of Nigerians everywhere in the country.
In a statement yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media, Ola Awoniyi, Lawan, who condoled with the families of the victims, government and people of Borno State over the senseless carnage, said: “This incident is heart-rending and again demonstrates why we must all continue to support the security forces to thwart the criminals in their evil determination to impose a reign of terror on the North East of Nigeria.
“I commiserate with the families of the deceased, Governor Babagana Zulum and the entire people of Borno State and assure them of the sympathy and solidarity of the National Assembly.
“This heinous crime is particularly sad given the ongoing spirited efforts by the Federal Government at ensuring food security in Nigeria through the many programmes that have been put in place to support the agriculture sector.
“I urge the security agencies to redouble their efforts with a view to bringing an end to mindless violent crimes in our country.”
Gbajabiamila calls for more military action against insurgents
Similarly, speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also condemned in the strongest terms, the killing of the farmers by the insurgents.
Gbajabiamila, who expressed sadness over the killings of the innocent rice farmers, said the incident had once again brought to the fore the need for more military action against the terrorists.
He said it was unfortunate that at a time the country was focusing on self-sufficiency in rice farming, about 50 of the farmers were killed in a most gruesome manner.
In a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, the speaker commiserated with the families of the farmers killed, the people and government of Borno State over the sad incident.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that about 50 of our countrymen lost their lives to the barbaric and inhuman action of the insurgents at this time.
“This incident is one too many for us as a country. Here were innocent citizens going about their lives of looking for their daily bread to cater for their families. But are murdered in a most gruesome manner.
“Their lives should not go in vain. This should call for more action from our military. As a House, we are ever ready to give them all the necessary support, especially through budgetary allocation, to deal decisively with the insurgents. My heart goes out to the families of the murdered farmers.”
PDP condemns beheading of farmers by insurgents, tasks Buhari on security
In its reaction, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, also condemned the gruesome beheading of 43 innocent farmers by insurgents in Zabarmari village, Borno state.
The party described the act as extremely wicked and devilish, and urged the Federal Government not to allow it go unpunished.
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP noted that “this horrific killing of compatriots comes as yet another of the recurring horrid testament and badge of failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC administration to secure our nation and guarantee the safety of lives and property in our country.”
The statement read: “Our party is distressed by the escalated killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians by insurgents, bandits and marauders, who have continued to ravage and pillage our communities, while the lazy and lethargic Buhari administration continues with its lip service, rhetoric and false performance claims.
“The PDP is particularly disturbed because of the failure of the Buhari Presidency to take decisive action despite series of concerns raised by Borno State governor, Baba Gana Zulum, of security compromises in the state.
“The Buhari administration appears helpless while our national security structure under President Buhari seems to have collapsed. Our nation appears to be on auto pilot with no one in charge while the ship of state continues to drift.
“All our nation gets from the Buhari Presidency is that ‘Mr. President is shocked’, ‘Mr. President is saddened’, ‘Mr. President regrets’ and such lame responses without any decisive policy direction or directive to definitively tackle the situation at hand, leading to escalation of killings in our country.
“Such attitude by the Buhari administration has continued to embolden insurgents to the extent that they now attack military formations, convoys of state governors and engage in wanton beheading of our compatriots.
“It is distressing that despite this sorry situation, Mr. President, who promised to lead from the front, has receded into the safety of Aso Presidential villa and refused to act on the consistent demands of Nigerians to rejig the national security architecture and replace the service chiefs with more capable hands to affectively tackle our security challenges.
“The PDP charges President Buhari to stop his unhelpful rhetoric. He should sit up and take actions that will safeguard the lives of Nigerians who have been subjected to all manners of mental and physical torture under this incompetent administration.
“Mr. President should immediately move to Zabarmari in Borno state, empathize with the families of the victims and lead from the front in restoring security in the area.
“Our party commiserates with the government and people of Borno state and urge Nigerians to remain at alert particularly in providing useful information for our security agencies in this fight against insurgency in our land.”
The slain farmers were reportedly abducted from their farmlands and murdered by Boko Haram insurgents last week.
Ganduje’s aide condemns killings, says 24hrs after attack, nobody’s sacked, no action’s taken
Also reacting yesterday, Special Adviser to Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Media, Salihu Tanko Yakasai, has criticised poor response by the authorities, saying 24 hours after the attack, nobody had been sacked nor a major action taken.
He also said there seemed to be no end in sight to the gruesome attacks that continued to claim lives and properties.
Yakasai tweeted this on his verified twitter handle @dawisu: “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihirrajiun (From Allah we come and to Allah we shall return)! 43 innocent souls lost for no reason, 43 families thrown into more darkness, 43 less farmers that will feed the nation, 43 new victims that have died in vain. 43 blood in the hands of those that are supposed to protect them #ZabarmariMassacre.
“I blame Arewa for tolerating this level of insecurity. By the time each and every household, in each and every state is engulfed in it, perhaps then we will wake up and defend ourselves against this barbaric attacks & kidnappings.
“Clearly, no end in sight. #ZabarmariMassacre. To even speak with one voice on the insecurity in the North is a challenge. We are not ready yet. #ZabarmariMassacre #SecureNorth.
“Please, the message is one & remains one, which is the security of lives & properties. A call to action. Let us speak with one voice, let us amplify the need for an end to all the insecurity challenges we are facing. That message is #SecureNorth. RIP to the 43 of #ZabarmariMassacre.
“If this doesn’t move you to tears, I don’t know what will. 43 souls woke up & went to earn a living, only to be slaughtered like rams. 24hrs later, nobody has been sacked, no major action taken, & in another 24hrs the outcry will end & we will move on. Allah Ya Isa (May Allah judge), #ZabarmariMassacre.”
Vanguard recalls that the special adviser was some months ago, suspended by his principal, Governor Ganduje, over unguarded comments on the person of President Buhari during the #EndSARS protest and was later reinstated after two weeks.
Buhari more interested in power than governance – NEF
In his reaction, spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said: “President Buhari is not Nigeria’s Messiah, as he’s more interested in power than governance. In sha Allah, some of us will live to see 2023 and 2027…Learn from our current circumstances.
“We have power, but only if we use it. Our children should not inherit fear and hopelessness. We must fix the North. Start with those who should lead us. Don’t keep quiet.”
Borno killing, a tragedy – Senator Shehu Sani
While describing the recent massacre of 43 people up North as a tragedy of unimaginable proportion,Senator Shehu Sani in a tweet, said: “If you wish to know or imagine what it is like to massacre 43 people is like almost wiping out the entire Federal cabinet or like picking one person per state, including the FCT,with additional five people representing all geopolitical zones .
“In the beginning of this year, 50 people were massacred by bandits in Kerawa village, Kaduna State. At the end of this year, 43 people were massacred by terrorists in Zabarmari village in Borno State. This sums up the Nigerian security tragedy of the year 2020 AD.”
Buhari should do the needful about endless killings in the North — ACF
Also reacting, Mr.Emmanuel Yawe, the National Publicity Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, said the group was for the umpteenth time, conveying the anger and frustrations of many Northerners to President Buhari to do the needful and speedily too, on the endless killings in the North.
He said: “It is getting too late. We feel there is no need to call on President Buhari to live up to his oath of office. He knows more than anybody else the implications of swearing on the Quran and refusing to honour your oath to the Almighty.”
He said security breaches in the North had become a source of worry to their followers who voted for a government that they thought would secure lives and property as spelled out in the constitution.
Yawe recalled the serial killings of more people in the north by the bandits whom he said “the Minister of police claimed falsely have been defeated.”
He said: “Even as the Minister was claiming falsely, whether in ignorance or deliberate, victory over bandits, 12 police superintendents on official duty from Zamfara to Kano were overpowered by superior tactics and force while driving in a convoy and abducted with a heavy ransom demand on each policeman’s family.”
“Apart from that, the bandits mounted four road blocks on Kaduna-Abuja road which the police have claimed severally they had liberated from bandits. News reports by the media speak of many dead and several others taken away by bandits for ransom.”
Yawe also recalled how nine students of French at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria on educational tour were taken away and a whopping ransom placed on their heads.
A retired Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, Idris Bello, said good intelligence gathering by the Nigerian military was capable of bringing an end to the war against Boko Haram.