The Conservator-General of the National Park Service (NPS), Dr Ibrahim Goni, has said the service was aware of daunting security challenges around parks in the country and as such was closing ranks with other security agencies to address the threats.
Goni stated this during a zoom press conference on the recent joint patrol by the park rangers and other security agencies at the Kainji Lake National Park where 20 illegal loggers were arrested.
He said the nation’s premier National Park was established by the amalgamation of two former game reserves – Borgu and Zugurma with a total area of 5,340.82sq/kilometres, which is a safe haven to some highly endangered species of wildlife and home to tourists.
“The Management of the Park is fully aware of the security situation of the areas within our legal jurisdiction and as such, we are closing ranks with other relevant stakeholders to curb the daunting challenges associated with our operations.
“I want to assure the public that the management of the Park will continue to strive very hard to keep the sanity and integrity of our Parks through our numerous strategies and modus operandi,” he said.
Goni stated that the Service on August 12 and 13, 2021 in collaboration with security agencies and local vigilantes carried out a successful routine joint patrol at the park where a lot of bandits were neutralised and several illegal loggers arrested.
He said the joint patrol is often carried out with personnel of other agencies with the aim to nip in the bud, any suspected criminal activities.
He said, “about 20 number of illegal loggers who had different sizes of trucks, some articulated trucks, loaded with timber were arrested by the joint patrol team.”
The CG said the trespassers will eventually be prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the land.
He noted that the collaborative efforts was paying off and will effectively degrade the activities of bandits and other criminal elements within the Parks and the surrounding communities.
“These collaborations, which are a continuing exercise, would help to speedily restore peace and stability at our Parks, the host communities and Nigeria as a whole.
“It is worthy to note that this operation was successful because of the vital information shared to the Service and which is a crucial role every person in Nigeria should play. It is pivotal in decisively checking the activities of criminals.
“The Park, just like other forest reserves, has challenges such as illegal poaching, grazing, logging and fishing, and we have remained committed to attaining the desired status of a tourist destination for legal visitors.
“We will always evaluate, re-strategise and reinvigorate our ongoing operations to stem the tide of growing security threats around the Parks and adjoining communities,” he added.
He, therefore, thanked the Army, Police, DSS, Civil Defence, the vigilante and the people of Borgu Emirate in Niger State for their support and their sacrifices and dedication toward curtailing banditry and other security challenges bedeviling Parks.
Goni also called for continuous support from host communities in the fight against illegal activities at Parks and their environs.