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FG to privatise 3 national parks

The Federal Government is set to partially privatise three of its national parks as part of efforts to optimize the conservation of the biodiversity in…

The Federal Government is set to partially privatise three of its national parks as part of efforts to optimize the conservation of the biodiversity in the protected areas and turn them into top tourists destinations.

Conservator General of National Park Service, Ibrahim Goni, who spoke earlier today while receiving two Land Cruiser trucks from African Nature Investors (ANI) at the headquarters of the service in Abuja, urged the private sector to key into the initiative.

Goni said, “Conservation is increasing becoming a private sector driven business and that is why Nigeria in her wisdom has decided to toe the line of privatizing some of our activities. The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is currently working with the National Park Service (NPS) for the partial commercialization of three of our national parks. This is to key into the global agenda of trying to bring in NGOs into conservation activities and I hope that with the penciling down of Cross River National Park, Kainji Lake National Park and Gashaka -Gumti National Park, the process will be fast tracked so that in no distant time, investors and entrepreneurs coming into this country will support the government.”

The three national parks are in Taraba/Adamawa, Cross River and Niger states respectively.

He said when the parks are partially commercialised, a lot of financial burden will be lifted off the shoulders of the government and will also help in diversifying the Nigerian economy as they would become top tourists destinations in Africa, thereby earning revenue for the government.

He added that the commercialisation would tackle encroachment by host communities as the investors would improve the livelihoods of the communities’ residents .

He appreciated the efforts of ANI in acquiring a helicopter for the Gashaka –Gumti National Park and hoped same will be done for Okumu park,. He said where the rangers could not get to before, they now go with the helicopter, thereby enhancing the conservation of the protected area.

He urged governors to show interest in the conservation efforts of the NPS and its private sector stakeholders in their respective states.

He said the two trucks which would be deployed for patrols at the Gashaka-Gumti park in Taraba, were given to them on a platter of gold, saying it would have taken so much time and processes to acquire them through the normal government procurement.

“By the time you embark on patrol with this vehicle, it will carry not less 12 rangers fully armed and you are sure of creating fear in people that you are out to protect the Nigerian biodiversity. These vehicles will be put to the best use,” he added.

Goni called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOS) and international donors and Bbsiness entities that have interest in conservation to follow the footsteps of ANI, World Conservation Society (WCS) and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) among others, who have partnered the NPS in protecting the Nigerian biodiversity.

African Nature Investors (ANI) Director, Brig Gen. Olajide Laleye (rtd) on his part said the donation of the vehicles was part of its technical support to the NPS.

He said the organization has achieved so much in conservation works at the Gashaka Gumti National Park and Okumu National Park with the support of the NPS.

Laleye said the ANI has been providing technical support to the NPS since 2017 and it will not relent in its efforts to see that the Nigerian biodiversity is protected.

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