The National Park Service (NPS) says it had arrested nine suspects for illegal activities at the Okomu National Park, Udo, Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State.
A statement issued by the Conservator, Park (CP) Service Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ntuyang, on Friday, January 28, 2022 in Abuja, said that the arrest was carried out by agile ranger corps of the park.
Ntuyang said that the arrest was made when Dr Abraham Goni, Conservator-General of the National Park Service, was on a four-day patrol activity in the park recently.
The statement quoted the Conservator Park, Head of the Okomu Park, Augustine Obekpa, as saying that the park had embarked on aggressive park patrol activities.
“In a renewed effort to rid the park of all illegal activities and save one of the last remains of the tropical rainforest in Nigeria, Okomu National Park had stepped up aggressive and sustained park patrol activities,” he said.
Obekpa reiterated the commitment of the Park management to rid the park of all forms of illegal activities, warning that all timber loggers, hunters and farmers, among others, should stay away from the park.
He said the suspects would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
The items seized during the raid, to serve as exhibits, included three power chain saws, one motorcycle, traps and jerricans of fuel.
He used the opportunity to commend the Edo State Government for the moratorium it placed on logging activities in the state.
He also solicited the cooperation of all and sundry, especially youths and traditional institutions, for protecting forest resources in the state.
The Okomu National Park is a compelling tourism destination reputed to be one of the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Nigeria. It is also the natural home of the threatened white throated monkey, forest elephants, and buffaloes, among others.
The park serves as the watershed of Okomu River.
By Vivian Emoni