OrderPaperToday– The Senate on Thursday expressed concern that national parks are fast becoming “hideouts and safe havens for criminal elements. ”

Consequently, it asked that the National Park service should be integrated into the national security architecture in line with the resolution of the 12th National Council on Environment.

It also calles for special firearms and ballistic training for park rangers, in addition to surveillance and intelligence information gathering training.

These were part of resolutions taken by the lawmakers after the consideration of a motion moved by Senator Umar Suleiman (APC, Kwara).

Presenting the motion earlier, the legislator informed his colleagues that there are seven national parks in Nigeria covering 20,156 kilometres, which is about 3% of Nigeria’s total area.

He, however, expressed concern that the “National parks are becoming safe havens for criminal elements within the society who often use parks as hide out. They come out to attack and return back there for safety.

“The security agencies’ routine patrols do not cover the parks and the park rangers are only trained to guide and protect the parks,” he lamented.

According to him, the National Park Service does not sufficient resources, personnel and training to cope with the current security challenges the nation is facing.

“I am worried that what is at the disposal of park rangers are obsolete and low calibre firearms and ammunitions such as double barrel short gun (DBSG), pump action and dane guns and the parks are now home to oorganised crime (banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling) with resultant killing of rangers and commuters by poachers/herdsmen,” he added.

Other resolutions in the motion include a call for the conclusion of the tripartite consultation (Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Interior) on the presidential intervention and for other security agencies to be involved in park protection and surveillance.

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