Bandits get arms through private jets, says Garba Shehu
The Nigerian presidency Wednesday said it declared no-fly-zone in Zamfara State because private aircraft are being used to supply weapons to criminal gangs that kidnap for ransom.
“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,” Garba Shehu told DailyTrust in a chat.
“As you are aware, 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,” he added.
Shehu also alluded to a thriving Nigerian Gold Market in Dubai in United Arab Emirates.
The clarification came after the Nigerian Government declared Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’ to halt the swap of gold for arms by armed bandits, other criminals, and illegal gold miners in the state.
It also banned gold mining in the state even though this is not the first time it is taking this decision on mining.
“His Excellency, the president has approved, based on our recommendation, the imposition and enforcement of a ban on all mining activities in Zamfara State with immediate effect, until further notice,” the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Major General Babagana Monguno, on Tuesday said.
“He has directed the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser to deploy massive military and intelligence assets to restore normalcy to that part of the country. He has also approved that Zamfara State be declared a no-fly-zone with immediate effect,” Monguno said without giving further details about the declaration of the no-fly zone.
Last week, 279 girls were kidnapped from their boarding school before being released on Tuesday. It is suspected that powerful figures engaged in illegal artisanal mining are arming the gangs.
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