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FG Inaugurates Committee on National Parks

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August 3, 2012


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The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, has charged members of the steering committee on the commercialization of Nigeria’s national parks to work assiduously to position the sector in order to contribute substantially to the national economy in line with the transformation agenda   of the present administration

At the inauguration of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the minister stated that the task before the committee is enormous. She urged the members to study the report of the Working Group of the Steering Committee which contains an in-depth assessment of the parks. The minister said that though the national parks were well endowed with natural resources, they are bedeviled with numerous challenges such as inadequate and poor infrastructure, land use conflicts, low capacity and security issues.

She urged the committee to consider limiting private sector involvement to the eco-tourism component while the “biodiversity aspect is left to the public sector as practiced in other parts of the world”.

The minister pointed out that membership of the steering committee “cuts across the relevant government agencies, non-governmental organizations and support zone communities” and was deliberately designed to articulate a   National Parks Sector Policy that would ensure active participation of public sector in the sustainable management of the parks.

Earlier, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ms. Bolanle Onagoruwa, had said the steering committee was inaugurated by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) four years ago but that all efforts to hold the inaugural meeting had proved abortive.

  She listed the critical areas required to reform the sector in Nigeria as the need to have a national parks sector policy for the country; para-military status of park rangers; and urgent need to introduce critical infrastructure into and around the parks.

She noted that most of Nigeria’s eastern borders were traversed by the national parks which comprise Cross River, Gashaka Gumti and Chad Basin. “This exposes the park rangers to cross border vandals, poachers and bandits”, she added.  The Minister of Environment is chairman of the committee which has ten other members.

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