By Ebere Agozie
Abuja – The Nigerian National Parks Service on Thursday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) on research and development initiatives.
Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the parks service, said the MoU would enable NOUN students use different parks across the country for research, industrial training and field trips.
“This is a platform for synergy and an opportunity to fast-track the management of the parks, while facilitating the optimal utilisation of their potential,” he said.
Goni said that the partnership would also encourage the development of scientific programmes and research capacity building.
“The research will equip us to protect, restore and make sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, while sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss,” he said.
He said that that since Nigerians were beginning to recognise the value of their bionetwork, the service was poised to explore its potential.
“Today, people recognise the value of not only our lands but the biodiversity that thrives on them.
“We have been recovering plants and animals that have disappeared due to development, habitat fragmentation and climate change,” he said.
Goni said that the parks across the country served as the country’s gene bank.
“At our parks, we have animals and genetic resources that are still in their original forms which we preserve and conserve for sustainable use.
“These genes are vital for our future well-being; and biodiversity and nature are, on their own, sources of wonder and enjoyment.
“Also, we have wild species that flourish as natural systems that help regulate climate change, air quality, and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, mineral elements and water,’’ he added.
Also speaking, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, the Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, said that the MoU would help the students in their researches, while enabling them to have a firsthand feeling of nature itself.
He thanked the service for the opportunity given to NOUN students to utilise its parks for their academic researches.