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Kainji National Park, two others suspend operations over insecurity – Internatinal Centre For Investigative Reporting

FRESH findings on Monday showed that at least three national parks being managed by the National Parks Service (NPS) have suspended operations due to insecurity problems in the country.
The suspended parks include: the Chad Basin National Park, Kamuku National Park and the most recent, Kainji Lake National Park.
Conservator-General of the National Parks Service Ibrahim Goni told The ICIR during an interview at a training organised for environment journalists in Abuja that insecurity was affecting the parks.
He said the existing parks were functional, “except that we have challenges in three of them: Chad Basin national park, Kamuku in Birnin Gwari, and of a recent one, a sector of Kanji Lake National Park. That is, the Borno sector where we have suspended any visitation, research activities.”
The Chad Basin National Park covering 2,258 kilometres square is sandwiched between Borno and Yobe States.
Though the NPS manages seven parks, until the newly approved national parks by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chad Basin park is one of the parks which is being operated under Category II of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural (IUCN) Resources, otherwise known as the World Conservation Union (WCU).
While Kamuku National Park is located in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, Kainji Lake park is between Niger and Kwara State. It was established in 1976 and occupied about 5,340.82 sq/km.
In his explanation, the CG explained the parks were under surveillance with support from the military.
The invasion, he emphasised, had caused a halt to their operations, including research activities mostly carried out at the various national parks.
Goni, who expressed optimism over the incident, stressed the park’s partnership with the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
“It is only our workers that are around surveying and giving us reports because of the invasion of these parts by the insurgents. They are invaders.
“It is through a partnership with the military that the park is able to still perform skeletal activities around the tourism centre.”
Other existing parks in the country are the Cross River National Park, Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Okomu National Park and Old Oyo National Park.
It could be recalled that the President had, on December 18, 2020, approved the establishment of 10 additional parks in the nation.
The announcement was made public by the former Minister of environment Mohammed Abubakar at a media briefing in Abuja.
With the approval, the total number of national parks in the country would be 17.
“The creation of additional national parks in Nigeria has become imperative in view of the prevailing effects of climate change across the globe,” the former minister, now the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), had stated.
“This action is geared towards the United Nation’s policy of placing 25 per cent of its member countries’ landmass under permanent vegetation cover for carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and ameliorate other ecological challenges.”
Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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