By Tobi Soniyi
The claim that helicopters and jets fly in arms in exchange for gold in Zamfara State is an indictment on security agencies, the Executive Director of the Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD), Dr Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi has said.
In a statement he issued yesterday, Shinkafi said the claim that bandits bring in arms into Zamfara State in exchange for gold through some unidentified aircraft had shown that those saddled with the nation’s security were inactive.
He also said that this had also brought to the fore the inefficiency in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) the agency of government saddled with the responsibility of managing the nation’s airspace.
According to him, NAMA is the agency of the federal government that has the responsibility to monitor and give clearance to every aircraft that flies into the country.
“So for anybody to say that planes come into Zamfara State to drop arms and carry gold from the state without the tacit cooperation of NAMA and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) the person is being economical with the truth.
“It is a known fact that without the approval of NAMA no aircraft can enter the Nigerian airspace nor can any aircraft has the clearance to land anywhere in the country.
“So for the Federal Government to accept hook line and sinker the lie that unidentified planes bring in arms into Zamfara State and take out gold from the state is hogwash” he added.
Shinkafi said that the revelation by the National Security Council (NSC) had exposed the failure of the nation’s intelligence on the part of Nigeria’s security architecture.
“If any unauthorized aircraft was getting access into an area, it is the failure of intelligence not failure Of aviation. When there is a problem, it is the job of the national intelligence to inform the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency or the Nigerian Airforce”, he added.
According to him, there is a glaring lack of inter agency collaboration, cohesion and synergy among the nation’s security apparatuses.
He said: “Because if there is credible intelligence it ought to have been shared among the security agencies and not to have gone ahead to issue a no fly zone without credible intelligence reports” he added.
The Movement for the Restoration of Peace in Zamfara State had raised the alarm over plots to assassinate the Zamfara State Governor Bello Mattawalle.
The group in a statement said that after failing to remove the governor through the back door by coercing President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in Zamfara State, some desperate politicians in collaboration with powerful political appointees in Abuja had resorted to using intimidation, mischief making and blackmail all in the bid to remove Mattawalle and make the state ungovernable.
The statement said the mischief makers went as far as circulating fake video clip of an aircraft which they claimed landed in Zamfara whereas investigation had shown that it was a Hawker Siddeley 125 business jet that landed on a very rough strip in Guatemala on January 27, 2020.