Bandits, kidnappers operating in national parks, says Senate

The Senate on Thursday lamented the infiltration of national parks by criminals.

The red chamber said the “evil elements” lived inside the parks and perpetrated banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, which resulted in the killing of rangers and commuters.

The upper chamber, therefore, 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.

These were resolutions reached 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.

Umar said the country had seven national parks, covering 20,156km, which is about three per cent of Nigeria’s total area, and served to protect the country’s diverse flora and fauna by ensuring that the natural ecosystem remained intact.

The lawmaker said, “These national parks are becoming a safe haven for criminal elements within society, who often use parks as a hideout. They come out to attack and return there for safety.

“The National Park Service has insufficient resources, personnel and training to cope with the current security challenges it is facing.”

<<Punch>>