In a bid to put an end to banditry that has ravaged Zamfara State and other parts of the North-west and North-central states, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared the state a no-fly-zone.

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 are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in an enemy power’s territory during a conflict, similar in concept to the aerial demilitarised zone.

The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, disclosed this to journalists at the end of the National Security Council meeting held in the Presidential Villa.

According to the NSA, the president also banned all mining activities in the state. He had announced a similar ban in 2019.

He said the ban is to curb the rising insecurity.

He said the intelligence and security communities ”have been mandated to go after all non-state actors, whose activities have been fueling chaos, for prosecution”.

He said the president ”has charged the new service chiefs to reclaim all areas under the control of bandits, insurgents and kidnappers, kidnappers and all others involved in criminal activities across the country”.

“We are not going to be blackmailed. The government has the responsibility to assert its will. Citizens can reside wherever they want to reside. Anybody who is a criminal should be brought to book,” Mr Monguno said.

“The president has also warned against ethnic profiling. We have (had) enough of chaos. Any individual that thinks he can cause disunity should have a rethink.”

The abduction in Zamfara occurred about two weeks after dozens of students and staff members were abducted by armed bandits from a school in Kagara, Niger State. The students in Niger were released on Saturday morning.

Students of both schools however have regained their freedom and reunited with their parents.

The abductions were part of a string of similar ones in recent years.