A former bandit has said government knows how the groups terrorising residents of NorthWest States get their arms.
Reacting to the decision of the Federal Government to declare Zamfara State a ‘no-fly zone’, the ex-bandit dismissed the reports that choppers ferry arms into the state for bandits.
At the end of the NSC meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 2, 2021, Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), the National Security Adviser (NSA), announced a declaration of Zamfara State as a no-fly zone to stop “arms for gold” deals going on, which further fuel banditry in that part of the country.
A no-fly zone or a no-flight zone (NFZ) or Air Exclusion Zone (AEZ) is a territory or area established by a military power over which certain aircraft are not permitted to fly.
Aircraft that violate a no-fly zone may be shot down by the enforcing state, depending on the terms of the NFZ.
Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, later told Daily Trust that the decision to declare no-fly zone over Zamfara was because private aircraft were being used to supply weapons to criminal gangs in exchange for gold.
But the former bandit, who craved anonymity, dismissed the allegation of the use of planes to deliver arms.
“The government knows the truth and we all know how these weapons come in,” he told Daily Trust, adding that a lot of weapons come in through Niger Republic.
A senior police officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said smuggling weapons into the country was easy because of the vast and porous borders with Niger Republic.
In a recent interview with Daily Trust, Auwal Daudawa, an ex-bandit, also said getting weapons was as easy as buying bread.
He said weapons come in from Niger Republic and Southern part of Nigeria.