Banditry: FG Says All National Parks in Nigeria Are Safe

Banditry: FG Says All National Parks in Nigeria Are Safe

- The federal government has assured Nigerians that the Gashaka Gumti National Park is 100% safe

- This was the position of the Conservator General of the National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni who spoke on behalf of the government

- The official was reacting to a media report that the park has been taken over by bandits

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The Conservator General of the National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Goni has said the agency's collaboration with sister agencies has ensured the safety of its parks and their tourists.

Goni said this during a video conference monitored to correct the false and misleading news report by a television station.

The report had claimed bandits have taken over part of the Gashaka Gumti National Park located in the eastern provinces of Taraba and Adamawa states to the border with Cameroon.

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Banditry: FG Says All National Parks in Nigeria Are Safe
The CG of the National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Goni has assured Nigerians that the national park in Taraba is safe. Photo credit: @NigeriaParks
Source: Twitter

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Dr. Goni, however, said:

“Right now, we have our partners and tourists at our various parks across the country, and to the best of our knowledge no part of the park has been declared a hide-out for bandits by the security operatives.’’

He said the report attributed the quote to Taraba state governor, Architect Darius Ishaku, but the video used by the same station showed otherwise.

He added:

“We carefully listened to the governor’s sound bite and quote here exactly what the governor said below:
“You can’t go to tourism places when you are not sure of your life, you can’t go to tourism when you are afraid of kidnapping. You can’t go to any tourist site when the insecurity is alarmingly high.’’
“One, therefore, wonders what part of the speech translated to bandits taking over the park, or any part thereof.

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“We wish to let the public know that the said report is entirely false.’

He, therefore, assured the public that the service is working assiduously with security agencies to professionally keep the parks safe for tourists.

He added:

“We wish to categorically state that Gashaka Gumti National Park or any part thereof has not been taken over by bandits or any other clandestine group or groups.’’

Mr. Kabir Mohammed, Conservator of Park, Gashaka Gumti National Park said that the management has remained committed to achieving her mandate as enshrined in Act 46 Cap 65 LFN 2010 as amended.

He said:

“The park is the largest, most scenic, and diverse conservation enclave in Nigeria and reputed to be a safe haven to some highly endangered species of wildlife.
“Like any other conservation enclave across the globe, we are faced with some anthropogenic challenges that sometimes impact negatively on her desired development.

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“Nonetheless, the management has continued to strive very hard to maintain the integrity of the park through its numerous strategies and operations.’’

He said some of the strategies deployed include collaboration with the Nigeria Army, Police, DSS, and even the vigilante groups to stem the tide of growing security threats around the park and adjoining communities.

He continued:

“This is often carried out through intelligence gathering and sharing as well as embarking on regular joint operations with personnel of these agencies with the aim to nip in the bud any suspected criminal activities.
“I would like to use this medium to allay the fears of the public and emphasise that no criminal elements have invaded and taken over any part of the park as has been insinuated.
“The park is secure, safe, and open for all forms of legitimate activities in line with the functions of the park.’’

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Recall that on Saturday, April 17, Shoban Tikari, the chairman of Takum local government council of Taraba state escaped being killed by suspected bandits.

The attackers, however, killed a police orderly attached to the local council boss after they opened fire on his vehicle at Dogo-Gawa village in the area.

Meanwhile, the chairman, House of Representatives committee on the army, Honourable Abdulrazak Namdas has lamented the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country.

According to the All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Adamawa state, things are getting worse.

Namdas made the comment while featuring on a Channels Television political programme on Wednesday, April 28 adding that the security agencies in Nigeria need all the support they can get to address the issue.


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