The Presidency, yesterday, disclosed that the conveyance of arms and ammunition by air was responsible for the no flight zone order imposed on Zamfara State. The revelation came same day President Muhammadu Buhari ordered security agents to shoot at sight, any one found bearing arms such as AK-47 without licence.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, disclosed these in an interview with BBC Hausa Service. Shehu said that the Presidency had confirmed that weapons were being conveyed to the bandits by private jets in the forests of Zamfara State.
“These jets are being used to pick up gold that is being mined in some parts of Zamfara and exported. This is strong because at the moment, there is a Nigerian gold market in Dubai. The government is losing, the people of this country are losing, that’s why it is said that gold mining is banned for those who are not made by the government.
“You will agree with me that the government had banned illegal gold mining in Zamfara, but those doing it continued as if there was no order against their actions. So, the only way to get to the bottom of what is happening is by stopping all planes from flying the state surface,” he said.
Shehu said some people have also been hiding under the guise of kidnapping and other violent crimes to continue to perpetrate their illegal gold mining which were being taken away by the helicopters and smaller jets. “Intelligence reports uncovered that those heli-copters and other smaller jets are also used in supplying weapons to the bandits so as to divert attention of government and security agencies from kidnapping and rampant killings of innocent lives,” he said. According to Shehu, the security agents now have marching orders to shoot any non-state agent found with AK-47 and other lethal weapon.
He said the order to tackle these non-state actors frontally had become necessary in the light of the activities of bandits attacking communities, kidnapping citizens and school children across the country. Shehu also said the President directed a clampdown on bandits who have refused to surrender. “The president has ordered security forces to go into the bushes and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47. “He ordered that whoever is seen with terrible weapons at all should be shot immediately,” he said.