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Police Commission blames killing of 43 rice farmers on lack of weapons, police presence

The lack of adequate weapons at the disposal of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to fight internal insurrection has been blamed for the killing of 43 rice farmers by Boko Haram insurgents in Zarbamari in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.

A member of the Police Service Commission, Austin Braimoh, stated this on Tuesday morning while appearing on a television programme, adding that the death of the 43 rice farmers could have been avoided with police presence in Zabamari.

Ripples Nigeria recalls that Boko Haram insurgents had attacked the North-East community of Zabarmari in Jere Local Government of Borno, killing 43 rice farmers who were harvesting their produce.

Insisting that the men of the Nigeria Police Force have a vital role to play in stabilising the North-East after the military liberates the territory, Braimoh said the Police Force lacked the sophisticated weaponry to fight internal insurrection.

He said: “We do not have the required armoury to face internal insurrection. Like what is happening in Borno State, you will agree with me that the police is the number one institution that is supposed to be on ground to maintain peace. By the time the military liberates the territory, we are supposed to have strong police presence in that environment.

“The unfortunate development of the slaughter of over 43 rice farmers may have been averted if we have good presence of policemen in that place.

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“The spokesman of the president while defending what happened yesterday alluded to the fact that when these farmers go into the field, they usually enlist the services of Civilian Joint Task Force.

“The Civilian JTF go before them, give them some level of protection from these insurgents and when they close, they also escort them.”

According to the PSC commissioner, more is required in the area of funding of the Police Force while also noting that by enlisting 10,000 men onboard annually, the NPF will address manpower shortfall to better combat insecurity.

“If we keep bringing 10,000 men onboard every year, we will certainly get to the required number,” he said.

The presidency, in reaction to the massacre, however put the blame on the doorsteps of the Zabarmari rice farmers, saying they did not get clearance from the military before venturing into the field.

The statement by the presidency through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, however did not go down with a cross section of Nigerians, who felt it was insensitive to the memory of the slain Zabarmari rice farmers.

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