Dr. Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General , National Park Service concludes meeting with nine host states of 10 new National Parks in Nigeria with an optimism for a smooth take- off of the new Parks.
By John Idoga
As part of preparations for the smooth take-off of the 10 new National Parks, recently created in the country, the Conservator-General of the National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni , has met with officials of the 9 host states of the new National Parks.
The 10 new parks which will raise the number of National Parks in Nigeria to 17 are : Alawa Game Reserve (Niger State); Apoi Forest Reserve (Bayelsa State); Edumenum Forest Reserve (Bayelsa State); Falgore Forest Reserve( Kano State); Hadejia Wetlands Games Reserve(Jigawa State) Kampe Forest Reserve (Kwara State); Kogo Forest Reserve(Katsina State) Marai Forest Reserve (Jigawa State); Oba Hill Forest Reserve(Osun State); and Pandam Forest Reserve(Plateau State).
In addition to the heartwarming development, Nigeria is also reported to be the only country with a marine park in West Africa. The park is situated in Bayelsa State, in the South- South region.
The meeting with host states, according to a press statement from Emmanuel Ntuyang, Service Public Relations Officer, took place in the Park Service Headquarters, in Abuja, and they ‘’ appraised the readiness of the host states and the Park Service for the smooth take off of the New National Parks’’.
At the meeting, Dr Goni used the occasion, to speak on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Barr. Mohammed Abdulahi, to commiserate with States affected by the recent flooding of some parts of the country. Dr. Goni also remarked that the consequences of climate change has become worrisome, globally.
Speaking further, the Conservator General of National Park Service assured that the Service is working round the clock to ensure that the new parks come on stream in no distant time, in view of the fast depletion of the country’s rich biodiversity in areas outside the National Parks.
He expressed the appreciation of the Service for the various efforts made by the host states in ensuring that the Parks effectively take off, adding that the Service will continue to collaborate with the host states and other critical stakeholders in her commitment to protecting the country’s fragile ecosystems.
The CG further expressed optimism that given the synergy that exist between the states and the Park Service, the new National Parks will take off in no distant time.
In their various remarks, the host states of Kano, Jigawa, Osun, Katsina, Plateau, Bayelsa , Niger , Nasarawa and kwara, once again thanked President Mohammedu Buhari for creating the 10 new Parks in the country, assuring that the states will continue to provide the necessary support required for the actualization of the new Parks. They stressed that the need to protect the country’s rich natural environment has become existential.
The high point of the meeting was the inspection of the vehicles, motorcycles and other field and office equipment procured for the takeoff of the new National Parks.
The Federal government is current looking into suggestions that some of the parks be run on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. Dr. Goni had earlier been quoted as saying: that the government is now in the process of partially commercializing three of the existing national parks, Cross River National Park, Gashaka Gumti National Park and Kainji Lake National Park.
Additionally, he said: “The federal government is currently pursuing a PPP arrangement so that it can hands-off the excess load that it is carrying, which will help it lessen its burden and give room for the private sector to invest in these assets,” he said.