Don’t Turn Abuja Parks to ‘Point and Kill Spots’, Minister warns Park Managers   

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From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril has warned park managers in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to ensure parks in the territory are well managed.

Jibril said this became imperative for protection of flora and fauna and to boost eco-tourism in the country.

He spoke at the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja during an inauguration of a 10-member committee for the protection and management of the Gashaka Gumti national parks. The committee includes: Tunde Morakinyo of Africa Nature Investors (ANI), Philip Ihenacho, Olaleye Olajide, Andrew Dunn, Okeyoyin Oladeji, Kola Yakubu, Saidu Yohana, Alh. Mohammed Yidi and representatives from the Ministry’s Department of Forestry and Planning, Research and Statistics.

The minister decried dearth of technical know-how and greater capacity to managing the parks, thus need for Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

He said 40 per cent of the territory is green area but excessive need for profit had forfeited essence of partnerships to protecting the parks.

A Popular Garden in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

His words: “The role of PPP in conservation activities cannot be overemphasized particularly on the deficits of infrastructure facilities, technical and financial know-how in the area of conservation, beside tourism in our protected areas.

“The lack of technical know-how and lack of understanding of conservation is glaring to all of us. A common example is here in Abuja. The phase-one of Abuja city has about 40 per cent as green area but if you go round the parks, aside the fact that there are clear guidelines to tell you what percentage should be developed and not even permanent structures but temporary that can easily be removed.

“You discover that these parks are glorified joints. Then you begin to wonder happened to the bars and hotels but most of these parks are turned into joints where people popularly go and point and kill. If you are conversant with standard parks, you will see the way elderly people will sit and read their books or walk across, cycle or play around with their own kids. It’s different from the perception of parks we are running here.”

“I am not against the investment in the park but the syndrome of investing in 1million and raking N2 million is terrible. There are no interests to protect the nature,” the Minister added.

Jibril applauded the partnership signed in 2017 stressing that it would go along way to repositioning the parks in the country.

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