Buhari declares Zamfara no-fly-zone, bans mining activities
Lawyers, security experts commend move
President Muhammadu Buhari has declared Zamfara State a no-fly-zone and banned all mining activities to curb rising insecurity in the state.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd.) disclosed this after a security council meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Monguno also stated that all non-state actors have been placed under strict surveillance, saying the Federal Government would not hesitate to use kinetic means to restore normalcy in the country.
He said the country’s defence and intelligence apparatuses have been put on alert and charged not to allow the country to slide into anarchy.
Monguno also said the President, directed the new service chiefs to reclaim all areas under the control of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists, adding: “We won’t be blackmailed as the government has the responsibility to assert its will.
“Citizens can reside wherever they want to reside. Criminals should be brought to book. The President also warned against ethnic profiling, because we have had enough chaos. Any individual that thinks he can cause disunity in the country should have a rethink.”
BESIDES, lawyers have commended the President’s move, arguing he possessed extensive powers under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to work for the security of life and property.
A Lagos-based legal practitioner, Stephen Azubike said declaring Zamfara a non-fly zone came through the President’s approval of recommendations of service chiefs regarding insecurity in the Northeast and other areas generally.
A member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Lagos Human Rights Committee, Abdulwasiu Esuola, said the implication of the decision for the country and Zamfara is that people would not be able to travel by air in Zamfara and operators of mining leases would have to suspend work.
“That is the opportunity cost of the decision, which is meant to secure the life and preserve the welfare of Zamfara people and Nigerians generally,” he stated.
National Welfare Secretary of NBA, Kunle Edu, said the security situation in the country had become so tense that everything required to checkmate it should be encouraged, saying: “This is one of the situations where the President can make such declarations and report same to the National Assembly, if need be.” He noted that declaring an area as no-fly-zone was an extreme decision that could be taken at times under extreme circumstances.
MEANWHILE, security experts described the ban on flying airplanes, Chopper, and private jets across Zamfara State as a proactive measure to keep its citizens safe.
Security consultant and publisher of Chief Detective Magazine, Dipo Kehinde told The Guardian that bandits in the state have acquired heavy weapons and anti-aircraft guns.
“It is okay for government to be proactive. I don’t know how the declaration will boost security in Zamfara since bandits don’t operate in the air. But then, we have to support whatever steps the government is taking because anything is better than sitting and watching like a lame duck. The government knows more than we do and something must have led to this move.
On his part, a former military personnel and Managing Director of Strict Guard Security, Bone Chinye Efoziem, however, said the move would further promote mistrust between citizens and government.
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