The Taraba Government says it will integrate the Nigerian National Park Service into its security architecture as part of efforts to secure the lives and property of its people, Concise News reports.
The state Governor Darius Ishaku unveiled this plan in a statement issued by Yakubu Zull, Media Assistant to the Conservator-General, National Park Service last Friday in Abuja.
Ishaku received the Conservator of Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Mohammed Kabir at the Government House in Jalingo.
The governor said integrating the park into the security architecture of the state had become imperative.
Ishaku said that the state government was committed to securing lives and property of the people, as well as guaranteeing “a well-coordinated policing of the park and its environs.
He also said that he was committed to fostering synergy with security agencies in the state.
The governor promised to provide motorcycles to ease mobility as well as look into the communication requirements of the park.
Ishaku directed the Permanent Secretary in charge Works to immediately inspect a bridge in the park with a view to repairing it.
He said the park had contributed to research and ecotourism as researchers from Germany and England visit it frequently.
The governor said there was the need for the restocking of viable protected areas in the state, including the park with animal species such as hippos whose population he noted, had declined.
Earlier, Kabir highlighted challenges militating against successful protection of the park’s resources.
He identified some of them as illegal grazing, hunting, fishing, logging, mining, wildlife trafficking, armed banditry, lack of access roads/tracks and logistics.
“Under the leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator–General of the Service, we are collaborating with both local and international NGOs to support the park’’
He, however, said that recently, an NGO, Africa Nature Investors signed a MoU with the National Park Service to give technical, logistics support and to develop the manpower of Gashaka-Gumti National Park.
Kabir also said the conservator-general was working assiduously to ensure that the service was integrated into the nation’s security architecture.
“We have been playing a significant role in national security since the loss of a nation’s natural resources may lead to a security crisis.
“On the issue of conflicts with other land users, in the last three years the park has lost four staff to herdsmen and illegal loggers while enforcing arrest, and some others have been maimed or injured in the process.’’
Kabir commended the governor for his continued support to the park, saying that had assisted the park in maintaining security.