The Africa Nature Investors (ANI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 donated equipment worth N74,540,000 to the National Park Service (NPS), an agency in the Federal Ministry of Environment.
The items donated were for the management of Gashaka Gumti National Park, located in Taraba and Adamawa states.
The minister, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, who received the items from the Director, ANI, Mr Phillip Ihenacho in Abuja, said the items would enhance effective protection and management of the national park.
Abubakar mentioned the items as uniform materials, firearms/ ammunition and anti-poaching patrol equipment, adding that the items were part of technical support for conservation activities in the park.
He said the effort was to further implement the Memorandum of Understanding earlier signed in 2017.
Abubakar recalled that the NPS in 2017, entered into an agreement with ANI for the provision of support to scale up conservation activities in the national park.
“The agreement is with a view to build up the fauna and flora resources to boost ecotourism.
“The partnership is in tandem with the present government’s determination to develop the economy through tourism by turning the country into a major destination for tourism and investment in Africa.
“The development is to enhance effective protection and management of Gashaka Gumti National Park.
“It will also be recalled that my ministry on Nov. 5, 2018, inaugurated the local organising committee.
“The committee was made up of members drawn from the National Park Service, ANI, staff of the ministry and a representative from the local community of Gashaka Gumti national park.
“The inauguration is to enhance proper implementation of the partnership agreement as provided for under the joint responsibility among the parties in the agreement,’’ the minister said.
Earlier, Ihenacho said the major reason for choosing Gashaka Gumti park was not only its beauty in nature but because of its position as a source of Benue River which millions of Nigerians depended on.
He said that if the park was not adequately maintained, it would negatively affect many Nigerians who depended on the river.
Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, NPS said he was pleased with the collaboration his agency and the ministry were having with ANI.
Goni said the government was making every effort in ensuring that security, law and order was maintained in the park.
“It is only when the park is secure and when both people and animals are safe from illegal activities that tourism can thrive, so, I am pleased by the huge support from ANI,’’ he said.
By Vivian Emoni