Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, raised the alarm over the infiltration of national parks by bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers lamenting that the development had resulted in the killing of rangers.
The Senate, therefore, called for the mainstreaming of the National Park Service into the national security architecture in line with the resolution of the 12th National Council on Environment.
It urged relevant security agencies to be involved in park protection and surveillance, as well as in the training of park rangers in the handling of fire arms and ballistics, surveillance and intelligence information gathering.
The Senate reached these resolutions after the consideration of a motion on the need to mainstream the National Parks Service into the Nigeria security architecture sponsored by Suleiman Umar.
According to Umar, Nigeria had seven national parks covering 20,156kilometre, which is about three per cent of Nigeria’s total land area. He said the parks serve to protect the country’s diverse flora and fauna by ensuring that the natural ecosystem remains intact.
“These national parks are becoming safe haven for criminal elements within the society who often use them as hideout. They come out to attack and return back there for safety. The National Park Service has no sufficient resources, personnel and training to cope with the current security challenges the nations is facing. What is at the disposal of park rangers are obsolete and low caliber firearms and ammunitions such as Double Barrel Short Gun (DBSG), Pump Action, and Dane guns. Parks are now home to organised crime, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling with resultant killing of rangers and commuters by poachers and herdsmen,” said Umar.