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Monitor forests in your states to contain banditry, National Park boss tells govs

THE Conservator-General of the National Park Service, Ibrahim Goni, has called on state governors to ensure strict monitoring of forests within their territories to check the activities of bandits and kidnappers.

Goni said bandits and kidnappers are taking advantage of lax and totally ungoverned forests across the country for their dastardly activities.

In a brief interview with Punch today, “If the Federal Government is doing (everything) to ensure that forests under the National Park are governed, (and) the governors of the respective states are doing the same in ensuring that forests under the control of states are monitored, the issue of kidnapping and banditry will be reduced to the barest minimum.

“On our part, we are engaging all paramilitary agencies and stakeholders in ensuring effective monitoring of our National Park to check the activities of criminals and poachers.

“We must individually do our part to ensure the security of this country. These people terrorising Nigerians don’t come from heaven, so with effective collaboration, we will be able to fight this war,” he said.

In a similar vein, the Africa Nature Investors Foundation, in collaboration with NPS, has trained 43 rangers and deployed technology to check illegal activities in the park.

The Executive Director of the foundation, Tunde Morakinyo, who disclosed this yesterday, noted that a 30-year memorandum of understanding was signed by ANI and NPS in 2018.

According to Morakinyo, the memorandum of understanding was was aimed at making the Gashaka Gumti National Park a secure destination for tourists to enhance the country’s economic development.

He said, “For the park to become a destination for tourists from all over Nigeria and the world, it is essential to restore security, law and order in the park.
“To achieve this, ANI is focusing on ranger support and community engagement. It is only when the park is secure and safe from illegal activities that tourism can thrive.

“We have invested heavily in the training and equipping of the rangers to patrol the park effectively to curb logging, poaching and other illegal activities.

“We have engaged internationally renowned ranger training specialists to carry out a rigorous screening process on the 150 rangers working in Gashaka Gumti National Park.”

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