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What you need to know about a ‘No-fly zone’


President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, declared Zamfara State a no-fly-zone, in response to recent security challenges erupting from the state.

The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) said the country’s defence and intelligence organization have been put on alert and charged not to allow the country to slide into a state of anarchy.

A no-fly zone can also be known as a no-flight zone (NFZ), or air exclusion zone (AEZ).

It is a territory or area established by a military power over which aircraft are not permitted to fly.

Simply put, it is a geographic location over which aircraft cannot fly.

These aircraft can include manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems (drones) or both.

Such zones are usually set up in an enemy power’s territory during a conflict, similar in concept to an aerial demilitarized zone.

The first no-fly zone was imposed over northern Iraq immediately after the first Gulf War, and since then, it has become a regular recourse for policymakers confronted with humanitarian crises.

In 2017, National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno declared Abuja a no-fly zone after closure of the (Abuja) airport for repairs.

Aircraft that violate a no-fly zone may be shot down by the enforcing state, depending on the terms of the no-fly zone.

However, Air exclusion zones and anti-aircraft defences are sometimes set up in a civilian context, for example to protect sensitive locations, or events against terrorist air attack.

In most circumstances, a no-fly zone is effective only if the adversary has significant air forces.

However, checks by The Nation revealed that only security flights or those with the requisite security clearance from the Presidency are granted overhead clearance for obvious security reasons.