Arms, food supply to bandits necessitated ‘No-fly-zone’ decision — Presidency

The Presidency has explained reasons for declaration of a no-fly-zone in Zamfara State.

It said it was to curtail influx of arms and other logistics into the state.

Speaking to The Nation in the State House Wednesday evening, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, also explained it was also meant to put an end to illegal exportation of Nigerian gold from the mines in the state.

Giving a graphic explanation of what declaring a no-fly-zone is, the Presidential spokesman said from the moment it was directed by President Muhammadu , it had become a rule, a violation of which might attract any form of military action.

According to him, the declaration became necessary following clues the aircrafts that find their ways into the area were not on lawful and humanitarian missions.

Rather it said they were fuelling the violence and insecurity in the area further by ferrying arms, ammunition, and other logistics to and other criminal elements as well as evacuating illegally mined gold out of the country.

“There’s this suspicion that the helicopters that foray into the mining areas are not purely for the purposes of serving miners and that some of the flights are being used to ferry and other logistics to the in the forests and that these logistics include weaponry.

“At the same time also, some of these flights are suspected as being used for the evacuation of gold for the mining areas, illegally, of course, and then taken to markets abroad.

“So, this no-fly-zone is intended to serve two purposes; one, to cut off suspected links that the militants and the have with their providers of logistics, including , and arms. Then to also save this country the loss of money through the illegal evacuation and exportation of the valued mineral that is gold

“So basically this is it. So what does it mean? It means that there’ll be no more flights in that area, other than military operation of flights and if anybody risks it, the military would take any action against them. They will be right to respond in any way possible to stop those flights. That’s basically the position,” he said.

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