President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

JUST IN: Why FG imposed a no-fly zone on Zamfara — Presidency

NEWS DIGEST – The Presidency has opened up on the recent imposition of no-fly-zone order and banning of all mining activities in Zamfara State.

Recall that the National Security Council, NSC, during its meeting on Tuesday had imposed a no-fly-zone order and banned all mining activities in the state, in a bid to stem banditry and other criminalities in the state.

Speaking with Daily Trust on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the imposition followed a strong suspicion that choppers are being used to transport arms to bandits.

On the banning of mining activities in the state, the presidential aide noted that there were strong suspicions that gold was being swapped for arms by criminal elements operating in the state.

He said, “Even in Zamfara, there is a strong suspicion that some of those choppers are being used to ferry arms for bandits and also to evacuate gold and illegally smuggled out of the country, so the country loses everything in the mining.

“As you are aware, the Nigerian gold market is a big business and the government wants to do two things at the same time by doing this; end banditry and economic sabotage through the smuggling of gold.”

THE NEWS DIGEST reports that Governor Bello Matawalle had since faulted the order, saying that the Federal Government lacked understanding of the security situation in the state.

Speaking while receiving in audience the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Kayode Fayemi in the state, Mr Matawalle said the order was not necessary.

He said: “It seems the security council doesn’t understand the nature of the security problems in Zamfara state but if they decided to take such action, let them go ahead.

“I’m not afraid of anybody and the problem of insecurity in the state predated my administration.

“Nigerians are waiting to see the outcome of the security council resolution to see if these bandits would be crushed.

“If the federal government fails to crush them after this resolution, then Nigerians will understand that they only sat and serve themselves tea, nothing more.”