President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the recommendation that Zamfara State be declared a no-fly-zone, with immediate effect, in response to recent security challenges erupting from the state.
National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), made this known to newsmen at the end of the National Security Council meeting, held in the State House
According to Monguno, President Buhari also approved the imposition and enforcement of a ban on mining activities in the state, until further notice, as part of efforts to curb rising rate of insecurity.
Monguno said, as part of strategies to douse tension and restore order in the country, the intelligence and security communities have been mandated to go after non-state actors, whose activities have been fueling chaos, place them under surveillance.
He said the President had charged the new service chiefs to reclaim areas under the control of bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and others involved in criminal activities across the country.
“Given the fact that we have a new organisation with new service chiefs, the President has charged all of us to redouble our efforts, especially in view of the occurrences of the last couple of weeks.
“The predominant issues raising concern for the entire nation remain kidnapping, banditry, and of course terrorism in the north eastern part of the country. Apart from that, we’ve also had issues with farmers and herders, which have also resulted in some unpleasant ethnic situations.
“Now, 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.
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.
“Now all non-state actors that have been causing problems, not just in Zamfara State or the Northwest zone, but also the Northeast and other parts of the country in the South-South, have been placed under surveillance by the intelligence agencies, we’ve had a lot of reports coming in; collusion with people from all walks of life,” he said.
Monguno also said that President Buhari had given the intelligence and other law enforcement outfits in the country the go-ahead to bring down the activities of all individuals already flagged as persons of interest on the nation’s security watch list.
According to him, the President had given the order that such persons be trailed and flushed out, warning that the federal government would not fold its arms, watching individuals or groups push the nation beyond the edge.
“Other issues deliberated upon include issues of freedom of citizens to reside wherever they wish to reside, this is stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. While at the same time, the government endorses that anybody who is a criminal, who acts on his own outside the law, should be brought to book.