BORNO State Governor Babagana Zulum on Sunday traveled to Zabarmari, where he joined hundreds of villagers in the funeral prayers and burial of the 43 farmers killed on their farmlands on Saturday by Boko Haram.
During the funeral, Zulum, was told by the villagers that they believed that the death toll was higher as some of their kinsmen and women were still missing.
“Your Excellency, as you have seen here, 43 bodies were buried, but others have not been retrieved from the scene of the incident. Nobody can tell you the exact number of people killed. Some of the victims are still missing,” said a spokesperson for the villagers.
While addressing the villagers, Zulum expressed regret that both hunger and Boko Haram insurgents were ravaging his people.
The governor called on the Federal Government to recruit more Borno youths as members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and civil defense corps to serve as Agro Rangers to protect the people.
He expressed his condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families and the people of the area.
Zulum said: “First of all, accept my deepest sympathy over this carnage, once again, that affects all of us and every human with a conscience. I am told some persons are still missing. We have been discussing with the military since yesterday, Insha Allah, the remaining people will be traced soon.
“We are still appealing to the Federal Government to ensure recruitment of more of our youths in the CJTF so that they can form a part of the Agro Rangers that will protect farmers.
“We need many boots to protect farmlands and our youths understand the terrain. We will not lose hope because we have to remain optimistic about ending the insurgency.”
He told reporters after the burial that it was sad that the people of Borno State were faced with the dilemma of survival from hunger and Boko Haram.
“It is disheartening that more than 40 citizens were slaughtered while they were working in their farmlands. Our people are in very difficult situations, they are in two different extreme conditions, in one side they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents. This is very sad,” the governor lamented.
Zulum, whose colleague in Kwara State, AbdulRazaq, commiserated however challenged Borno people to remain optimistic even in the face of the insecurity.
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Also on Sunday. farmers in the state and the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) flayed the incident..
The farmers expressed anger over the incident and called on the Federal government to take proactive measures to save them.
They advised the Federal Government against leaving the killings unaddressed.
The Managing Director of Wal-Wanne Group, Dr Abiso Kabir, signed a statement on behalf. of the farmers.
The statement partly reads: “About 43 farmers have been buried but we are not sure these are the exact numbers that are dead because some people are still missing.
“We are tired of the situation, just when we thought we have gotten our farmlands back to support agricultural development and fight hunger in the country, we keep waking up to sad events.
“We can’t continue to go out to our farmlands and risk being killed by the insurgents.”