President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of ten additional National Parks bringing the total number of National Parks in the Country to Seventeen.

Briefing the press on the development in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said an Executive Bill will soon be presented to the National Assembly for further necessary action in order to give the parks credence and legal backing.

Abubakar said the creation of additional National Parks in Nigeria has become imperative in view of the prevailing effects of climate change across the globe.

He said the establishment of additional parks is geared towards the United Nation’s policy of placing 25% of its member countries’ landmass under permanent vegetation cover for carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and ameliorate other ecological challenges.

The Minister said the establishment of additional parks is geared towards the United Nation’s policy of placing 25% of its member countries’ landmass under permanent vegetation cover for carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and ameliorate other ecological challenges.

“It may interest you to note that Nigeria currently has 6.7% of her total landmass under vegetation cover which is grossly inadequate in line with global best practices. The creation of these Parks will no doubt, further create more employment opportunities, alleviate poverty in rural areas and ultimately enhance the country’s revenue profile especially now that Nigeria is seeking to diversify her economy,” he said.

He said the seventeen National Parks cut across the ecological zones of the country except for the marine eco-system.

Abubakar said the National Parks contain several rich and diverse varieties of rare endangered species like Elephants, Gorillas, Giraffes, Monkeys, Golden Cats, Hippopotami, crocodiles, etc, and a host of plant species.

He explained that to ensure maximum security and benefits of the National Parks, Mr. President has directed that the Federal Ministry of Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources, as well as that of Interior, should work together to ensure the attainment of the targets.

He said the establishment of more National Parks would help ward off criminal element living or looking for a hideout in those areas.

“You are very much aware National Security is crucial to Protected Areas. It is also regrettable that most State-Owned Forest Reserves today have become dens of criminal activities.  Therefore, in a bid to further add impetus to the current fight against insurgency as well as other organized crimes such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry amongst others, the creation of these National Parks will provide the much-needed apparatus to ward off criminal elements living or looking for hiding outs in those Areas,” he said.

 


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