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Bandits, kidnappers operating in national parks, says Senate

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The Senate on Thursday lamented the infiltration of national parks by criminals.

The red chamber said the evil elements live inside the parks but perpetrate banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling which has resulted in the killing of rangers and commuters.

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The upper chamber, therefore, called for the mainstreaming of the National Park Service into the National Security architecture in line with the resolution of the 12th National Council on Environment.

It also urged relevant security agencies in the country to be involved in park protection and surveillance, as well as training in firearms and ballistics, surveillance and intelligence information gathering for park rangers.

These were resolutions reached sequel to the consideration of a motion on the need to mainstream the National Parks Service into the Nigeria security architecture, sponsored by Senator Suleiman Umar.

Umar said Nigeria has seven National Parks in Nigeria covering 20,156km, which is about 3 per cent of Nigeria’s total area, and serve to protect the country’s diverse flora and fauna by ensuring that the natural ecosystem remains intact.

The lawmaker said, “These National parks are becoming safe haven for criminal elements within the society, who often use parks as hideout. They come out to attack and return back there for safety.

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“The National Park Service has no sufficient resources, personnel and training to cope with the current security challenges the nations is facing.

“What  at the disposal of park rangers are obsolete and low calibre firearms and ammunitions such as Double Barrel Short Gun, Pump Action, and Dane guns.

“Parks are now home to organised crime (banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling) with resultant killing of rangers and commuters by poachers/herdsmen.”

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