No-fly zone in Zamfara: The intrigues and intricacies – by Etim Etim (Guardian Nigeria – March 18, 2021)

One of the nation’s biggest crime thrillers is unfolding in the Northwestern state of Zamfara, but nobody seems to be paying attention. The plot is not only dangerous, but it is at the root of the banditry and sacking of villages in that part of the country.

The cast includes the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Mungonu (rtd); the state governor, Mr Bello Muhammed (Matawalle Maradun), and the House of Assembly.

Behind the scenes and pulling the strings are some illegal gold miners from China, who can easily pass for the executive producers of the plot. Like all such high-stakes, the hapless citizens, in this case, the poor people of Zamfara are paying dearly.

I urge the Nigerian media and pundits to focus their full attention on Zamfara, with the realization that the atrocious civil wars in Sierra Leone in the 1990s and the never-ending conflicts in DR Congo and other parts of Africa are rooted in illegal mining and theft of natural resources.

In early March, the National Security Council (comprising the President, Vice President, National Security Adviser (NSA), Chief of Staff to the President, Defence Minister, and the Service Chiefs) met, and acting on a well-informed intelligence, proscribed gold mining in Zamfara and issued a no-fly zone over the state.

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