The National Park Service, a paramilitary organization under the Federal Ministry of Environment, is working hard to deliver on its mandate of preserving Nigeria’s natural and cultural heritage located in various ecological zones designated as national parks across the country.
Ibrahim Musa Goni, Conservator-General, said at the recent round table meeting for donor support to the National Park Service and trans-boundary collaboration initiative in Abuja that the Federal Government in its desire to uplift the standard of National Parks in the country has made some investments through the annual budgets. He, however, said that funds from the Federal Government are grossly inadequate to provide the massive infrastructure required to bring the parks to standard, hence the need for donor support from the private sector.
According to him, government has through the Bureau for Public Enterprises come up with policies that will facilitate private sector involvement in the development of National Parks in accordance with global best practices. Goni noted that strategic partnership is the new global approach to development and enjoined stakeholders to assist him in actualizing his quest of transforming the National Park Service.
He said that currently the Service manages seven National Parks spread across all the ecological zones except the marine and mangrove ecosystem. “Each of these Parks has its unique features and attractions capable of attracting potential tourists and researchers to Nigeria. Efforts are also being made to establish a marine National Park for Nigeria to attain the full complements of its biological diversity,” Goni said.
According to him, the National Parks yearn for world class infrastructure, equipment for anti-poaching activities, training and manpower development and technological devices to be able to compete favourably with their counterparts in other parts of the world in terms of environmental sustainability, tourists’ attraction and revenue generation.
The round table meeting was chaired by Ibrahim Usman Jibril, Minister of State for Environment who also enjoined the private sector to collaborate with the National Park Service to actualize its mandate and contribute to the economic diversification drive of the present administration.