Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator General, National Parks Service, on Saturday said the service had taken measures to reposition the national park, to meet world standards.
Goni said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said the service would be working closely with both national and international investors to bring some of the best technical and financial experts to make the dream of being one of the world’s best park services a reality.
“The partnership is in tandem with government’s determination to develop the economy through tourism by turning the country into a major destination for tourism and investment in Africa.
“This involves renovation and upgrade of our facilities to international standards, strengthening the park rangers and developing job creation initiatives for the local communities.
“The role of public private partnership in conservation cannot be over emphasised, particularly with the deficit in infrastructure facilities,” he said.
According to him, also important is the technical and financial support in the area of conservation, research and tourism activities in the protected areas.
“The aim is to make National Parks across the nation an internationally famous destination that generates revenue and as well make it a place that Nigerians can be proud of as part of their national heritage.”
He called on Nigerians to look inward to appreciate and patronise the natural resources and priceless heritage that abound in the country.
“Nigerians travel abroad and spend money for recreation but in Nigeria, these facilities are being underutilised.
“I want to see a situation where we visit our parks for holidays and recreation to enjoy the natural resources that God has endowed the country with during festivities such as this Easter.’’
Goni said he had directed the Conservators of Parks (CP) of the seven National Parks to tighten security in and around the park during the celebrations.
“We want to have adequate security and surveillance patrols at all the national parks in the country, so they won’t become hiding places for criminals this season of celebrations.
“This is to ensure the safety of visitors and tourists intending to visit the National parks during the festive period.
“I use this opportunity to urge Nigerians and visitors to take time out to relax as they celebrate Easter, and encourage them to patronise any of the parks closest to them.”
Goni also said he had directed the CP’s to watch out for farmers and herders who indiscriminately burnt bushes in and around the parks.
“This has become necessary following the onset of rainy season where farmers set their farms on fire after clearing and might not be able to control it afterwards, leading sometimes to its entering the parks and causing damage.
“Some herdsmen also sometimes deliberately set fire around the parks in a bid to get fresh fodder for their animals.
“We also have incidences where people embark on either individual hunting or communal hunting and set the bush on fire to drive out animals so they can capture or kill them.’’
He said in spite of the security situation in some parts of the country, the Service would continue to serve as an embodiment of the nation’s biodiversity conservation and ecotourism destinations. (NAN)