Dreaded Boko Haram insurgents and bandit terrorists have taken over about 1,129 square meters of forest reserves and national parks in the country.
The Conservator General, National Park Service (NPS), Dr Ibrahim Goni, made this known on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
A statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, quoted Goni as saying that the criminals use the forest reserves and national parks as hideouts.
Goni stated that the park service needs the help of the Nigerian military in flushing out the terrorists and bandits occupying the reserves and parks across the country.
He stated flushing out the criminals will help the service effectively meet its set objective which was to protect and conserve the biodiversity in the designated areas.
Goni however expressed the service’s readiness to partner with the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards safeguarding the nation’s forest reserves and tackling the current security challenges facing the nation.”
Goni, however, stated that the NPS was established for the purpose of protecting and conserving the biodiversity in the designated areas which he identified as national parks, game reserves and forest reserve.”
Responding, Irabor, represented by the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Sanda reiterated the commitment of the military to tackle the insecurity in the country.
Irabor maintained that relevant stakeholders must support the park service towards ensuring that the forests are well protected against criminalities.
He charged NPS on the need to dominate the nation’s forests in terms of intelligence gathering and sharing of information with the military and other security agencies so as to checkmate every form of terror and other crimes.