Kidnappers, bandits take over national parks –Senate

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••••calls on security agencies to keep surveillance

TRACKING_____The Senate, yesterday, raised the alarm that the nation’s national parks have been infiltrated by bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements, resulting in the killing of rangers and commuters.

Accordingly, the Senate 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 also urged relevant security agencies in the country to be involved in park protection and surveillance, as well as training in firearms and ballistics, surveillance and intelligence information gathering for park rangers.

The resolutions were made following the consideration of a motion on the need to mainstream the National Parks Service into the Nigeria security architecture, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Umar (APC – Kwara North).

Presenting his motion, Umar noted that Nigeria had seven National Parks, covering 20,156km, which is about 3% of Nigeria’s total area, and used to protect the country’s diverse flora and fauna by ensuring that the natural ecosystem remains intact.

He said: “These national parks are becoming safe haven for criminal elements within the society, who often use parks 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 nation is facing.

“What is at the disposal of park rangers are obsolete and low calibre firearms and ammunition 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/herdsmen.”

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