Concern rises in Senate over infiltration of National Parks by bandits

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The Senate has called for the mainstreaming of the national park Service into the Nigeria’s security architecture following what the lawmakers described as infiltration of the parks by bandits who engage in killings, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

The upper chamber said the mainstreaming of the National Park Service into the nation’s security architecture would be 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, training in fire arms and ballistics, surveillance and intelligence information gathering for park rangers.

These resolutions were reached by the Senate following the consideration of a motion titled: “The need to mainstream the National Parks Service into the Nigeria security architecture” sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar representing Kwara North.

Senator Umar in his lead debate noted that the country has seven National Parks in covering 20,156km, which is about 3% of Nigeria’s total area.

He said that the parks serve to protect the country’s diverse flora and fauna by ensuring that the natural ecosystem remains intact.

He lamented that the National Parks have become safe haven for criminal elements that often use parks as hideout.

“They come out to attack and return back there for safety,” he said.

He noted that the National Park Service has no sufficient resources to cope with the current security challenges posed by bandits.

He said: “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 organized crime (banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling) with resultant killing of Rangers and Commuters by Poachers/Herdsmen.”

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