From Mathew Jwantu, Minna
The Nigerian Government has been challenged to takeover all local forests to end insecurity in the country.
Conservator of Parks, Kainji Lake National Park, Jimoh Bolanle Oladosu threw the challenge when he visited the Nigerian Army 31 Artillery Brigade in Minna.
But for the Federal Government’s proactive measures in setting up a joint task force if the military, National Parks Service (NPS) and local vigilantes, bandits would have taken over the Kainji Lake National Parks, Oladosu said.
According to him, “if the forests are not manned and taken over by the government, it is going to constitute a very big threat to the country. Any forest that is not manned now is going to constitute big danger that may consume us.
“If the Federal Government takes over and they are manned, apart from harnessing the resources therein, no miscreants, kidnappers or bandits can enter the place to perpetrate their nefarious activities. The forest is where the hoodlums and miscreants use as their safe haven and hideouts.
“It is better we take proactive/preventive measures now than to start spending huge amounts on curative. A lot of our forests have been degraded. Niger state for instance has a lot of forests that are very rich in biodiversity and if they can be manned, protected and preserved, they will be highly beneficial to the people of the state and the country.
“If Niger can not manned its forests, they can give them to the Federal Government to convert them into National Parks especially the Allawa game reserve and forests. It is a very hot spot of biodiversity.”
The Conservator while calling for proper attention on forests in the country, further disclosed that the Kainji Lake National Parks in New Bussa is the safest in the country; and there is need for us to protect our natural resources and we also need to be futuristic because one day the oil will loose value.”
In his remarks, the Commander, 31 Artillery Brigade, Brigadier General Gideon Ajetunmobi said the National Parks Service should not be looked down upon adding that “they are very important to the country.
He added that the visit will further establish a robust relationship between the Army and the National Parks. “They are quite important to the country because they provide safe homes for animals, plants and even humans.
“We must ensure nature is preserved so that we can generate revenue from tourism in Nigeria and it can help hotel businesses, flight boom and will be able to project our culture when tourists start visiting.”
The Conservator also visited the Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Television Authority, Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and Traditional leaders in Minna.