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Security in national parks will be strengthened, says minister

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, on Sunday said security in and around the seven national parks across the country would be strengthened to check poaching.

The minister also said that the strengthening of security in national parks become necessary to safeguard the lives of rangers and other staff of the national park service.

Mohammed, who made the remarks at an event to mark the 2016 World Environment Day, described as tragic a situation where some staff of the parks were killed by poachers.

The UN fixed June 5 of every year as World Environment Day to create awareness on the need to safeguard the environment.

The theme of the 2016 celebration is “Go Wild for Life” with emphasis on zero tolerance for illegal wildlife trade.

The minister said “we have to look at security in national parks; we have lost our staff to poachers which is tragic.”

Mohammed, who commented on the 2016 theme said it was designed to make the world a better place for animals otherwise known as endangered species, as well as man.

She added that “the theme is about globally bettering the world, so, we have to think globally toward sustainable development agenda but then we also have to act locally.

“And acting locally, for Africa, wildlife is of particular importance to us.

“Nigeria suffers some of the atrocities that we see in the destruction of wildlife; so, today is a reminder of what we need to do, it is an opportunity to educate, to send messages.”

She, however, explained that the country had been able to address issues of trafficking and illegal trade in wildlife.

According to her, the environment ministry and that of information and culture are collaborating to use parks to generate revenue as part of efforts to diversify the economy.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Minister of State for Environment, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman, noted that unprecedented rise in global population was a threat to wildlife.

Usman stressed the need to protect the environment, including wildlife, plants and animals as human beings directly or indirectly depended on them.

“I enjoin us to continuously act together to build a friendlier environment, well protected and nurtured and to try and save this beautiful planet we live in,’’ he said.

Highlights of the event included quiz competition for primary school pupils and a drama by students of University of Abuja to raise awareness on environmental issues.

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