Group Condemns Declaration of No-fly Zone in Zamfara

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Tobi Soniyi

A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Zamfara Movement for Peace and Good Governance has condemned in very strong terms the no-fly zone order imposed on Zamfara State by President Muhammadu Buhari describing it as part of the orchestrated plot aimed at declaring a state of emergency in the state.

Chairman of the group, Jamilu Magazu in a statement in Gusau accused the All Progressives Congress-led federal government of using the opportunity created by the recent kidnapping of school children in Zamfara State to take back the state through the back door by looking for ways to declare a state of emergency in the state and make a former member of House of Representatives Sani Jaji the sole administrator.

Zamfara State governor Bello Matawalle had said that he accepted the “no fly zone” order imposed on the state by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Matawalle said “the decision of Mr President on the no-fly zone, I accept it and I agree with that. People don’t even know that Zamfara does not have an airport. So, the states that have airports and are encountering this kind of situation, what happens to them?” the governor asked.

However reacting to the development, the group stated that the APC federal government had not declared a state of emergency in Mungonu Borno State the hometown of the National Security Adviser (NSA) which has been occupied by the Boko Haram terrorists for the past ten years neither did it declare a state of emergency in Katsina State when over 344 school children were abducted in Kankara, nor did it declare a state of emergency in Niger State where over three hundred students were just abducted and released.
“We wish to put it on record that the APC-led federal government is being too economical with the truth and is politicizing the abduction of school children in the country for political gain.

“344 Kankara students were abducted in Katsina, Yobe students were abducted in Dapchi, Chibok girls in Borno State and only when it happened in Jangebe in Zamfara State that the National Security Adviser (NSA) with the connivance of Hon Sani Jaji is plotting a state of emergency first with this no fly zone while in all the other states that have been grappling with insecurity for more than ten years have never been faced with no fly zone neither was a state of emergency declared in any of these states.

“A no-fly zone cannot be arbitrarily declared without a recourse to the National Assembly noting that a no-fly zone also known as a no-flight zone (NFZ), or air exclusion zone (AEZ), is a territory or area established by a military power over which certain aircraft is not permitted to fly. Aircrafts that violate a no-fly zone may be shot down by the enforcing state, depending on the terms of the NFZ.”

He noted that from the literary meaning of no -fly zone it is obvious that the National Security Adviser had misled the President on the no-fly zone and its application adding that Nigeria is fast becoming a laughing stock in the Comity of Nations.
Speaking on the plot to declare a state of emergency, Muazu stated that
“Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is very clear on how and the situations during which the president could declare a state of emergency.
He pointed out that the conditions within which a state of emergency could be declared had not played out in Zamfara State.

According to him, by the provisions of Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, only the President is empowered to declare a state of emergency in the country or any part of it with the exclusion of the states and local governments.

He said: “Though Section 5(2)(a) vests in the governor the executive powers of his state, he is not empowered to exercise emergency powers rather Section 305 (4) requires him to request the president to proclaim same in the event that any of the situations specified in subsection (3) (c), (d) and (e) of the same section.”