In its ongoing efforts to maintain the security and integrity of Nigerian national parks, the Federal Government has implemented several measures. These efforts have yielded fruitful results, with the National Park Service recording a total of 646 arrests nationwide during 2023. In a recent press address held over the weekend, the Conservator General of the National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Goni, presented a detailed account of the apprehensions, specifying that a total of 44 individuals engaged in hunting, 222 in grazing, 131 in logging, and 249 in other activities were detained. He emphasised that these arrests spanned across all national parks, with Gashaka-Gumti recording the most significant number of detentions.
According to him, a total of 37 individuals have been captured in relation to banditry and mining incidents at the Old Oyo National Park. At the Kainji Lake National Park, three individuals suspected of being involved in banditry were arrested, and an additional five have been rendered harmless. Notably, as a result of these operations carried out over the course of the year, four victims have been successfully rescued. Also, many valuable items, including motorcycles, phones, and machetes, have been recovered.
Legal proceedings were recorded in National Parks.
Additionally, it was disclosed that a total of 646 cases were persecuted throughout the year. Of these cases, 161 resulted in convictions, 215 led to fines, 119 received warnings or discharges, and 151 cases are currently awaiting a resolution. Cross River and Gashaka-Gumti National Parks witnessed the highest number of convictions. Furthermore, the Conservator General shared that the park service has accumulated revenue of ₦83.2 million from January until the present day through diverse means, encompassing ecotourism, compounding, compensation, and numerous other channels.
Goni further mentioned that every generated income has been duly transferred to the Federal Government’s funds. He also revealed that the service established numerous Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with various organisations. These MoU were designed to enhance and fortify the park service’s abilities in tackling conservation problems. He further disclosed that among the organisations with which the MoU were established are the Safe Nature and Humanity Club, West African Conservation Network, Sayari Dunia Sustainable Tourism Foundation, and Sterling Oil Exploration & Energy Production Co. Limited.
Collaboration for keeping ecosystems is yielding.
Furthermore, he explained that the signed MoU led to significant outcomes in safeguarding parks, enhancing skills, and supporting zone growth. The NPS also collaborated with partners to combat wildlife trade in Nigeria, successfully returning captured animals to the wild. Efforts were made to reintroduce seized creatures into their habitats. The Nigerian Customs Service also seized 81 parrots, various avian species, and galagos. These animals were handed to the NPS for rehabilitation and eventual reintroduction. Also, the National Park Service and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime crafted a comprehensive policy to combat wildlife and forest crime in Nigeria.
Also, in a similar report in 2021, during a press briefing in Abuja, Dr. Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator General of the NPS, shared that the NPS is collaborating with various security agencies and local vigilante groups to safeguard the plants and animals within the areas. He disclosed this information while discussing the results of a recent joint patrol conducted at the Kainji Lake National Park. Plants and animals, as stated by him, form an integral part of the environment that necessitates safeguarding to maintain a thriving ecosystem. He expressed that in their determination to preserve the environment, the park rangers partnered with security agencies and local vigilante teams and effectively conducted a routine joint patrol at the park.
Individuals who trespass would face a legal penalty.
Lastly, he concluded by stating that any individuals who trespassed would face a legal penalty. Goni further acknowledged that the combined endeavours were productive and would successfully hinder the actions of outlaws and other unlawful entities in both the Parks and nearby areas. The Park’s management is well-informed about the security conditions in the areas under its control. They are actively collaborating with key partners to tackle the difficult issues. These ongoing partnerships will contribute towards rapidly regaining peace and stability within the Parks and their surrounding communities and across Nigeria.