Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Publicity, says there is a strong suspicion that choppers are being used to ferry arms for bandits.
Speaking with Daily Trust on the no-fly zone order of the federal government on Zamfara, the presidential spokesman said the action was taken to boost security.
He also spoke on the ban on mining activities in the state, saying there are strong suspicions that gold was being swapped for arms by criminal elements operating in the state.
"Even in Zamfara, there is a strong suspicion that some of those choppers are being used to ferry arms for bandits and also to evacuate gold and illegally smuggled out of the country, so the country loses everything in the mining.
"As you are aware, Nigerian gold market is a big business and the government wants to do two things at the same time by doing this; end banditry and economic sabotage through the smuggling of gold," he said.
Shehu also said that a big market in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is called "Nigerian Gold Market".
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara had kicked against the federal government's action, wondering if such step can check banditry.