Abuja – The National Park Service (NPS) has called for the upgrade of game and forest reserves in the country to the status of national parks.
The Asst. Conservator General of the service, Mr Agboola Okeyoyin, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Okeyoyin, who is also in charge of Planning, Research and ICT in the service, said the upgrade would protect forest resources, reduce tree felling, and mitigate the effect of climate change on humans.
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“With what is happening in Nigeria now, there is need for us to have more national parks because it is only national parks in the country that are well protected.
“We have more than 1300 games and forest reserves but they are paper reserves, they are no longer functional, if you go there you will not see anything.
“We should not allow what happened to our grazing reserves to happen to our forest and games reserves.
“The earlier we upgrade them to the status of national park the better because national parks are well protected.’’
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Okeyoyin, who decried the rate at which trees were being cut down in the states of the federation, called for measures aimed at discouraging tree felling in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
He said that plans were on to establish new national parks in the country especially in the marine and mangrove areas such as found in Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.
“We are looking for a situation whereby we will have parks in those areas, that is when we will have a full complement of ecological zones in this country.’’
On beekeeping, the asst. conservator general disclosed that the service was also planning to train some selected park support zones community members on bee keeping.
NAN reports that support zone communities are those communities that are adjacent to the National Park boundary.
According to him, some members of the support zone communities engage in illegal, nefarious activities like hunting and fishing inside the national park.
“If you do not want them to go into your park, provide better occupation and opportunities for them to engage them outside the park.’’
Speaking on the appeal by the association of beekeepers for the allocation of parts of the national park to enable them grow their business, Okeyoyin said it was against the law that established the service. (NAN)