Photo: Abubakar, Environment Minister
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, says the Federal Government is committed to protecting the lives of park rangers against kidnappers, terrorists, bandits, poachers, among others, by putting in place adequate measures to address the challenges faced by the National Park Service in the country.
The minister made this known on Monday in Abuja during the candlelight memorial in honour of the fallen heroes of the park services to mark World Rangers Day (WRD).
Abubakar said that government was not unaware of the challenges confronting park rangers in the line of their duties, which informed the Federal Government’s decision to provide adequate measures with the view to addressing the challenges headlong.
“I am not unaware of the onerous challenges confronted by Park Rangers in the line of duty.
“These challenges range from contending with poachers, loggers, miners, grazers and to trekking of long distances, inadequate patrol vehicles, use of obsolete firearms, inadequate modern equipment and inadequate manpower.
“It is sad to also note that in recent times these challenges have taken a new dimension as park rangers now grapple with terrorists, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and bandits.
“I am pleased to inform you that the government is abreast of these arduous challenges that are debilitating the National park service charged with the responsibility of protecting, preserving and conserving the nation’s natural resources.
“I want to express my sincere sympathy to the National Park Service and the families of the departed heroes. I pray that God in His infinite mercies will continue to comfort them and provide for their needs adequately.
“The memories of the fallen heroes will continue to live in us,’’ he added.
Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, National Park Service, explained that the occasion was held to honour and recognize unforgettable fallen heroes who despite all odds strived very hard to make the environment a better place to live in.
He further said that the candlelight memorial in honour of the fallen heroes of National Park Service was an innovation to add glamour to the WRD celebration.
Goni described Park Rangers as unsung heroes of wildlife conservation whose critical contributions to a healthy environment and general wellbeing are hardly noticed by all and sundry.
The CGNPS expressed his dismay for the fact that rangers are always under-appreciated because they work in remote places and are not often in the media spotlight.
He said there was need to associate with them and encourage them to keep up the good work as they protect the critical ecosystem across the plant.
“They weather the storm to ensure that you and I are safe from all forms of environmental-related hazards by preventing biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, biological monitoring, habitat management, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, tourism and many others.
“Records made available by the International Rangers Federation (IRF) indicate that about 120 Rangers had lost their lives in the line of duty from August, 2020 to 30th July, 2021 across the globe and Nigeria accounts for 17 deaths out of this figure,’’ he said.
Danjuma Magaji, a ranger and Deputy Conservator of Park, commended the government for collaborating with some non-governmental organizations in training some rangers and providing some equipment.
World Rangers Day is celebrated around the world on July 31st each year to remember the many rangers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty while protecting national and state parks.