By Raphael Ekpang
The Nigerian Senate on Thursday has advocated for the involvement of other security agencies for the protection and surveillance of national parks.
The Senate also resolved to mainstream the National Park Service into the National Security Architecture in line with the resolution of the 12th National Council on Environment.
Consequently, the upper legislative chamber seek special training in fire arms and ballistics as well as surveillance and intelligence information gathering to park rangers.
This is sequel to the motion titled, “The need to mainstream the National Parks service into the Nigeria security architecture” sponsored by Senator Sadiq Umar (kwara north) and co-sponsored by ten other senators at the Senate plenary.
While moving the motion, Sen. Umar noted that there are seven National Parks in Nigeria covering 20,156km square, which is about 3 percent of Nigeria’s total.
He observed that the National Parks portray the success or failure of government environmental policies, adding that Parks are especially critical in mitigating environmental threats.
He bemoaned that the National Parks are becoming safe haven for criminal elements within the society, stressing they often use the Parks as hide out. “They come out to attack and return back there for safety”.
According to Umar, “The National Parks in Nigeria serve to protect the country’s diverse Flora and fauna thereby ensuring that the natural ecosystem remains intact.
“The security agencies routine patrols does not cover the Parks, and the park rangers are only trained to guide and protect the Parks”.
Consequently, he lamented “The National Park Service has no sufficient resources, personnel and training to cope with the current security challenges the nation is facing.
“What is at the disposal of the park rangers are obsolete and low Calibre firearms and ammunitions such as double barrel short gun, pump action and Dane guns”.
He explained that the Parks are now home to organized crime, with resultant killing of rangers and commuters by poachers/herdsmen.
Meanwhile, senators who contributed to the motion included; Senator Sabi Abdullahi (Niger north), Uba Sani (Kaduna central), Abba Moro (Benue south) among others.