By Lawani Mikairu, Bashir Bello & Ibrahim Hassan
The ‘’no fly zone’’ order given by President Muhammadu Buhari over Zamfara State on Tuesday appears to have impacted positively on banditry in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State yesterday, as bandits ran helter-skelter, abandoning their motorcycles on sighting military fighter jets in the area, and fleeing.
This came as indications emerged yesterday that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, may not issue a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to airlines over the presidential order.
The presence of the military jets reportedly destabilized bandits who abandoned about seven motorcycles, fleeing the area.
Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who confirmed this, said the bandits abandoned their motorcycles and melted into the local population, preventing further engagement.
He said the military jets conducted reconnaissance over the Ganga-Udawa-Manini and Koriga axis of Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, in support of the Operation Taimako Yazo.
The road is notorious for attacks on motorists and incessant kidnapping of travellers.
“Normal traffic was observed along the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road. At Ganga, the situation was the same with motorcycles seen moving in and out of the town. Troops also reported a calm situation at Ungwan Yako. No threats were observed at Koriga,” the commissioner said.
He said reconnaissance was also carried out over Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, Buruku, Ungwan Yako, Ganga, crossing point, polewire and adjoining settlements, stressing that no threats or suspicious activities were observed.
According to him, ground troops equally reported a calm situation at Udawa.
Receiving the operational feedback, Governor Nasir El-Rufai thanked the crews and the ground troops for successful operations and sustaining the tempo.
He urged citizens to report the presence of suspicious persons who might have fled the air offensives and taking refuge within adjoining communities.
Similarly, there are indications that the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, may not issue NOTAM ( Notice to Air Men ) to airlines in connection with the No-fly-zone order declared by the President on Zamfara State.
Highly placed sources told Vanguard that since there was no flight path in Zamfara State and the fact that state does not have an airport, there might be no need to issue NOTAM to airlines.
The sources also said overfiers (aircraft flying over Nigeria airspace) have always been accordingly guided to take the right flight path.
“No- fly zone decision is purely a decision meant to curb insecurity in that part of the country. It is almost a military decision in the face of prevailing security problem,” the sources revealed.;
However, airlines are still waiting for clear directives from relevant aviation authorities.
Meanwhile, an assembly of professional bodies, Non Governmental Organizations, NGOs, under the auspices of Non-State Actors Consultative Forum, NOSACOF, has kicked against negotiation with and amnesty for bandits and terrorists, saying state governments paying them money were encouraging more terrorism and legitimizing criminalities.
The Co-convener, Comrade Ibrahim Waiya, who stated this while briefing newsmen on the rising cases of insecurity in the country, called for the use of force in the fight against terrorists, contending that negotiation with terrorist never works.
He said: “The argument against negotiating with terrorists is simple: Democracies must never give in to violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for using it. Negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means.
‘’Talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism and set a dangerous precedent.
“Most scholars and international policymakers also warn against engaging in negotiations with terrorists as it will legitimize terrorist groups, their goals and their means.
“Talking to them (bandits) would serve only to incite more violence and weaken the fabric of democratic states. So far in Nigeria, the states that initially opted for the option of negotiating with the bandits have not been spared from the violent and deadly wrath of these terrorists.
“The bandits use the money paid them by these state governors to purchase more weapons and expand their terror activities. Sometimes, they negotiate with one state, and use such state as a safe haven to lay low to avoid the wrath of our military or to keep victims they kidnapped from states.
“We will like to unequivocally state that we stand with the NSA regarding the non-negotiation with terrorists. We call on the federal government to adopt more effective military practices and built on the existing citizen economic empowerment programs in order to bring an end to the insecurity bedeviling the country.
“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, what has now become some state governments’ standard policy of using taxpayers’ money to pay terrorists and bandits, thereby funding and encouraging more terrorism and legitimizing criminality.
“We also call on government at all levels to stop granting amnesty to bandits, terrorists and abductors unless a serious commitment to peace has been demonstrated on their part. As evidence has shown, the ransom paid to criminal gangs is used to purchase arms and ammunition to attack more communities.
“We call on government to spend strategically on security by considering building technology- driven security architecture, and must acquire the necessary equipment to deal with the menace of terrorism, banditry and abduction. In a moment like this, Nigerians would not bother any price tag to secure the nation.
“The detractors cowardly believe they are responsible for the retirement of the ex-service chiefs, and hence want to shift attacks to the next person of interest in the person of the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Mohammed Babagana Monguno.
‘’These detractors have recently launch numerous media attacks aimed at rubbishing the selfless service of the NSA so as to distract him from adopting the stringent measures necessary to fight insecurity in the country.
‘’First and foremost, we will like to point out that attacking the competence of the NSA are efforts made in vain, because the capabilities and experience of the NSA is there for all to see.
“In the last two decades, insecurity has been the most glaring and challenging problem in Nigeria. Acts of insecurity occurs in different forms throughout the country. While some of these acts of insecurity, such as farmers and herder crisis, go way back several decades ago, some other forms of insecurity, such banditry, have become more prominent in recent times mainly due to act of deliberate sabotage from political actors who take delight in weakening our national security for selfish political interest.