…Presidency says declaration to stop illegal exportation of Nigerian gold
The presidency has stated that the reason for declaring a no-fly-zone in Zamfara state was to stop arms, food supply importation, and illegal exportation of Nigerian gold from the mines in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu told the nation that from the moment it was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, 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, food, and other logistics to bandits 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 food and other logistics to the bandits 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 bandits have with their providers of logistics, including food, 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 the 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.