FG Upgrades National Park Service To Paramilitary Body
The Conservator-General of the Nigeria National Parks Service, Alhaji Haruna Tanko Abubakar, Monday disclosed that the Federal Government has approved the upgrade of the agency to a paramilitary body.
He made the disclosure at the 2014 budget defence of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment at the National Assembly.
The CG said the decision of the Federal Government to change the status of the organisation was in tandem with the National Park Service Amendment Act 2006.
He said this will enable the organisation to cope with the daunting task of Park protection and conservation.
Abubakar noted that with the new nomenclature, the National Park Services would have the responsibility for surveillance, patrolling, checking illegal activities of poachers in the parks, enforcement of relevant international treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory, searching, arresting and prosecuting offenders, public enlightenment on the protection and conservation of plants animals, and assisting researchers.
The National Parks were originally established to preserve, enhance, protect and manage vegetation and wild animals in the National Parks.
There are seven National Parks across the country.
The CG also disclosed that only 38 percent of the capital budget was implemented as only N639 million out of the N1.
379 billion appropriated for capital was released even as only N495 million was accessed.
He said a total of N3.
797 billion was appropriated for the entire organisation.
His disclosure came on a day the Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr.
Ngeri Benebo, lamented that the agency was constrained by lack of funds and operational vehicles to function effectively.
'We are trying our best but really constrained.
We have 24 state and six zonal offices but these state offices have only one vehicle each therefore it becomes impossible for the monitoring teams to move about,' Benebo said.
She disclosed that in 2013, NESREA generated N283.
7 million internally and remitted N81 million into the Federal Government coffers.
Earlier, the chairman of the House Committee on Environment, Hon.
Uche Ekwunife, expressed concern at the poor funding of agencies and parastatals under the Environment Ministry, describing it as appalling.
She also queried the agencies for not generating enough revenue internally.
According to her, 'we have watched closely, activities of NESREA but we have not seen any tremendous improvement in revenue generation and we believe it is only when you enforce the law that you can generate revenue.
'Nigeria's environment is the most violated in the world and we want NESREA to work harder beyond this level,' she said.
SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA.