The Federal Government, on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, partnered with Spain on technical support to fight illegal wildlife trade and other crimes across the country.
Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General of the National Park Service (NPS), said this when Amb. Juan Sell, Spain’s Ambassador to Nigeria, visited his office in Abuja.
Goni said that the partnership would not only help in fighting illegal wildlife trade, but would support to reduce illegal mining and other crimes in the country.
He said that the NPS had the mandate to partner with other relevant agencies for effective management and service delivery in the country.
According to him, Ambassador Sell had spent barely one month in the country, but the NPS would like to let him know the office’s key activities.
“We will also let him know of our vision, mandates, objectives, the names of the parks and where they are located in the country.
“This collaboration will help to ensure that the incidence of wildlife and other crimes were minimised in the country.
“The NPS had collaborated with the Nigeria Custom Service, National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), the Nigeria Police Force, among others, to ensure that the service was successful.
“We can only succeed if there are effective collaborations with other agencies and communities, where the parks are being located, so we make sure the service works with the people around it, so that we can make progress.
“Currently, there are seven national parks in the country and they are located in various ecological zones of the country,’’ he said.
Goni said that the Service was responsible for managing a great variety of national and international programmes, designed to help extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout the country and the world.
He cited illegal hunting and mining, farming encroachment and other crimes, as some of the challenges faced by the Service.
To effectively carry out its duties, the NPS needed additional 3,000 rangers across the country to enhance the protection of the parks.
He also said that partnering with the Spanish government, as well as collaborating with other relevant agencies, would boost the efforts of the NPS to address the challenges.
Goni, however, said that the Service would remain committed to achieving its mandates and objectives in the country.
Earlier, Sell announced that the aim of his visit was to seek collaboration and strengthen the relationship with the Federal Government, adding that he would also want to know more about the activities of the NPS.
He also said that the government of Spain was committed to partner and support Nigeria in the area of wildlife and other environmental issues.
“I came to this office because I like everything about nature and I really want to be acquainted with responsible people, so that I can learn more about your work, challenges, aspiration and your worry.
“I am also ready to explore possible ways of cooperating with the office, so that we can fight illegal wildlife trade and other crimes in the country,’’ he said.
He thanked the NPS on it efforts to ensure that national parks were protected in the country.
The conservator-general, in company of some of his senior staff, conducted the Ambassador around the parks, while showcasing some of the animals in the park.
Sell was also offered an opportunity to plant a tree in the NPS premises, as part of environmental protection and to encourage Nigerians to always plant trees in their environments.
By Vivian Emoni