The National Parks Service on Friday in Abuja signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Conservation International Foundation to collaborate in ecotourism and conservation.
Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator General of the Service and Mr Michael O’Brien-Onyeka, the Senior Vice President Africa Field Division of the Foundation signed the MoU at the service headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
The MoU is in collaboration with the Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC), the Nigerian Partner to Conservation International Foundation.
Goni said that the MoU was on strengthening the National Parks Service’s role in empowering people, regulating ecosystems and protecting endangered species.
He said that at present, Nigeria has seven parks across the country that serve as the country’s gene bank.
“At our parks, we have animals and genetic resources that are still in their original forms which we preserve for sustainable use.
“These genes are vital for our future well-being; and biodiversity and nature are, on their own, sources of wonder and enjoyment.
“Also, we have wild species that flourish as natural systems that help regulate climate change, air quality, and cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, mineral elements and water,’’ he added.
The C-G said that the service was reaching out to both national and international bodies to make the parks household names.
O’Brien-Onyeka said the MoU was more of a sustainable conservation to protect key reserved areas for healthy living.
“We need nature to survive, nature does not need us and the only way to have quality environment for healthy living is to protect the ecosystem.’’
He thanked the service for its openness to partnering with them and exploring other ways of doing business to attract revenue through tourism.
He said that the MoU was demand-driven to meet the interests of the National Park and would last for five years and subject to change or review.
“We want to see conservation thrive in Nigeria, so we want to look at what needs to be changed and what needs to be done to make the parks attain global standard.’’
Mr Ayodele Ameen, the Executive Director of HURIDAC thanked the service for always being open and accessible.
“I am impressed with the parks workers, I like their passion and dedication to the service.
“When I come here, I see people who are not working to earn a living but people who are dedicated to the cause of conservation and preservation.
“The signing of the MoU signals the take-off of a train, and this train has just taken off from the station and we are heading to our destination,” he said.