The National Parks Service says it has arrested a poacher with no fewer than 20 pieces of wildlife trophies of different species also known as bush meat at the Gashaka Gumti National Park in Taraba State.
Yakubu Zull, Media Assistant to the Conservator-General, National Parks Service, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Friday, July 26, 2019, said the arrest was made by a team of Park Rangers from Gumti.
Zull said the poacher identified as Terseer Orya of Vandikiya LGA in Benue State was also in possession of Warthog, buffalo and baboons.
He said other items found on him include 42 cartridges and one KC Sanya Motorcycle.
“However, the mastermind, Terlunmun Gesa of Gboko LGA of Benue, escaped with two others, Sater Terlunmun and Orseer Orya upon realising that the Rangers had reached their hideout. These three are still at large.
“Nevertheless, the Rangers are on their trail and shall ensure that they are brought to book, just as their partner in crime, Terseer Orya who is currently in prison custody.”
Mr Mohammed Kabir, the Conservator of Park, Gashaka Gumti National Park, frowned at the destruction of wildlife.
Kabir vowed to use the powers conferred on the Service by the National Park Service Act, Cap 65 LFN 2010 as amended, and other relevant laws to prosecute perpetrators in and around the park.
He also warned the public to desist from engaging in unlawful activities in the park such as illegal grazing, poaching, logging, mining, fishing and trespassing.
The service had embarked on advocacy visits to security agencies to seek collaboration for effective park protection.
Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the Service, had said that the visit was in line with his desire since he assumed duty to reach out to all security agencies.
Goni said the move was to ensure the safety of lives and property of visitors and tourists at the parks at all times.
“We want to have adequate security and surveillance patrols at all the national parks in the country so they would not become hiding places for criminals.
“Our intention is to rid the parks of criminals and hoodlums, who may want to take advantage of our security shortfalls to perpetrate nefarious activities in and around the parks.’’
He said that despite the security situation in some parts of the country, the service would continue to serve as an embodiment of the nation’s biodiversity conservation and ecotourism destinations.
Goni said that the service had trained some of its rangers across the country on arms and weapon handling, adding that the training would help equip them on how to control and prevent individuals who encroach into the parks.
He said that the service would continue to protect the parks from encroachment for farming and other human activities.
Goni said these encroachments threatened the conservation of the parks, especially the Cross River, Gashaka-Gumti and Kainji Lake National Parks.
By Okeoghene Akubuike