Awka – The Conservator General (CG), National Park Service (NPS), Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni says the partnership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) can be key towards safeguarding the nation’s forest reserve.
The CG made this known on Tuesday when he led NPS management staff on a courtesy visit to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), Abuja.
The Nigeria National Park Service was a creation of the Federal Government commissioned to preserve, enhance, protect and manage vegetation and wild animals in the National Parks, as well as advise the Federal Government on the development and preservation policy of the National Parks including the financial requirements for the implementation of such policy.
Speaking during the visit, Dr Goni, stated that the NPS was established for the purpose of protecting and conserving the biodiversity in the designated areas which he identified as national parks, game reserves and forest reserve.
Dr Goni who applauded the AFN for supporting NNPS thus far, noted that there was need to sustain the existing synergy, by working together to tackle the current security challenges facing the nation.
He said it has become imperative to conserve wildlife throughout Nigeria so that the abundance and diversity of their species are maintained at the optimum level commensurate with other forms of land use, to achieve the continued existence of wildlife for the purpose of their sustainable utilization for the benefit of the people.
“The collaborative arrangement with the Armed Forces is expected to be on combat training for NPS personnel and logistic support in order to boost the Agency’s mandate of securing the forest reserves.
“These forest reserves and national parks which are approximately 1,129 square metres, have become hideout for bandits and terrorists. Their continued inhabitation of the very precious aspects of our society is a major threat.
“It has therefore become imperative that the Nigerian military come in here, especially to intensify its ongoing operations to rid the nation’s forest reserves and national parks of these disgruntled elements”, he added.
Responding, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Lucky Irabor, represented by the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Dahiru Sanda reiterated the commitment of the AFN in collaborating with the NPS, describing the Service as a key agency in the security architecture of the nation.
He maintained that the relevant stakeholders must support the organization towards ensuring that the forests are well protected against criminalities.
The CDS charged NPS on the need to dominate the nation’s forests in terms of intelligence gathering and sharing of information with the military and other security agencies so as to checkmate every form of terror and other crimes.
The visit was graced by the DHQ Departmental Chiefs and Directors. Among the NPS delegation were Assistant Conservators Dr Agboola Okofiyin, Mr Yakubu Mohammed Kolo, Mr Mohammed Kabir and Mr Yakubu Haruna Zull.