By Emmanuel Daudu/Abuja-Nigeria
The Conservator-General of National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Goni, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved ten new National Parks in the country and all forest reserves that lack the gallery will soon have the facility. He added that improvement in the services of the parks is also necessary, hence the partnership with the National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOTOUR), to train officers on tourism.
He further disclosed that, despite the challenges of Covid-19 in 2020, the service was able to achieve positive results.
Goni who outlined his achievements from 2017 to 2020 during an interview with the NTA correspondent at the National Park Headquarters in Abuja, recently on the performance of the Service disclosed that 2020 was a turbulent year and full of challenges but were converted to opportunities.
“ Year 2020 was a turbulent year. Whatever, has disadvantages equally has its advantages so we should not completely bring the ugly side of COVID-19. COVID-19 has some blessings within it. It has made a lot of agencies to think out of the box and with this, the Service is one of those agencies that has uitilised the opportunity to establish strategic partnerships with the security establishments including the Nigerian Army, DSS and the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeran Immigration Service, Civil Defense, NGOs within and outside the country.
The Wild Life Conservation has keyed into enhancing the quality of services and Nature investors too.
“Today the Service is relating with and carrying out patrols with all the security agencies at various levels which include training on weapon handling, intelligence gathering and logistics.
“We have acquired two patrol vehicles and refurbished a lot of grounded vehicles to make sure that the service run without waiting the budget” Goni said
He also said that the Service has been engaging with several media outfits to carry out public enlightenment and engagements with host communities.
“The partnership is also for strong capacity building through workshops, seminars and conferences to improve tourist infrastructure such as Eco-chalets, tracks among others.
“We have cleared all training requirements and promoted staff as at when due to make sure that officers give in their best.
“This is to enhance the capacity of the service and community, so as to efficiently and effectively deliver on the mandate of the service. He stated.
Conflict Resolution with Host Communities.
The conservator-general urged the communities to see the park resources in their domain as theirs, rather than to view it as government property.
“The issue of rangers, herdsmen and farmer’s conflict, Illegal settlements or enclaves within the parks, were major challenges negating conservation efforts,” he said.
According to him, the service is planning to constitute a functional local advisory committee in each of the unit parks, the effort will improve the service.
“This strategy requires the involvement of the park’s SZCs in the co-management of the park resources and initiating a non-violence conflict resolution mechanism central to this strategy are enclaves communities”.