Colonel (rtd) Sambo Dasuki, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser
PHOTO CREDIT: VANGUARD NEWSPAPERS
PAN AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY
4 March, 2014
As part of the collaboration involving the
Park Service and the military and
paramilitary agencies in the fight against insurgency, particularly in the border areas of the North Eastern part of the country, 2,500 personnel of the Nigerian Park Service are to undergo military arms training. They are originally trained for conservation duties to protect the nation’s wildlife and forests.
Conservator General of the agency, Mr.
Haruna Tanko Abubakar, told members of the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee on Environment that the move was to add fillip to the campaign against the insurgency ravaging Borno, Adamawa
and Yobe States which are under
emergency rule. Mr. Abubakar said that as a first step in the move, 150 personnel have already undergone various weapons training at some military institutions in the country in order to carry out the additional responsibility.
According to Abubakar, “the National Parks are located in the rural areas and
mostly in the borders between Nigeria
and some other African countries. And in
most cases, you find that when there are
cases of insecurity, especially coming
from those areas, there is always collaboration between us and the security organisations, especially in terms of patrolling the areas.
‘It is difficult for the military to have
access to these areas and so they work
hand in hand with our staff (National Parks Rangers) who are more familiar
with the terrain. This will give us an
opportunity of being trained as far as
intelligence gathering is concerned. And
by so doing, the National Parks will help
in the tackling the insecurity in the areas.
‘Now, we are exposing our staff to real
military training so that at least they can
better handle sophisticated weapons
because initially we were just using shotguns and double barrels which are small. ‘But by the time we receive training, we may begin to use arms such as AK-47 rifles, among others.
‘At the moment, we are about 2,500 in
terms of staff strength. And beginning
from next week, some of our staff will be
embarking on military training in batches at the military cantonment in Kainji, Gashaka Gumti (in North Central Nigeria). And at the end of the year, we will be able to train the entire number of the staff that we have.
‘With this additional responsibility, we need to have more personnel and we are looking at additional 150 persons.Because if you look at the size of the
national park, it is about 24,000 square
kilometres and it will be difficult for our
staff to man the area and give it adequate protection that it deserves.’That is why we are trying to see that we
increase the number of our personnel so
that we can meet up with the challenge
that we have ahead of us.”
FG UPGRADES NATIONAL PARK RANGERS TO PARAMILITARY STATUS