There’s is no doubt that Nigerians are forgetful lots. We learn nothing from challenges and developmental dislocations. We merry go round and dance over every issues. Nothing seems to matter, no archiving of critical areas that possess immediate or future lessonsandchallenge. We live in our holes, our world, and every other thing happening elsewhere in the world, hardly hold lessons for us.
Recently, mother nature visited us with floods unprecedented. It exposed us to our unpreparedness and the realities of global warming and poor environmental conservation .
We groaned, from sokoto to Jigawa, Anambra to kano, Bayelsa to kogi, and the world ignored us. No serious talks and determined actions plans on carbon emissions and protection of forest ecosystem and marine conservation, Nigeria is a huge joke.
We attend or pretend to join the world in preservation of the mother earth but how exactly do we respond to its structure of sustainable conservation?
Our Cities are museums of environmental dislocation and destruction. Nigeria has no environmental conservation soul. Our waters, Oceans and rivers, lakes and inlets are sick, abused and neglected. These otherwise home to marine species, many unknown to science, have been plasticed by wanton disposal of debris, our beaches, a goldmine of untapped pedigree breaths diseases and neglect.
But for the Nigerian Army, our silent beings , our forests and fauna resources would have turned to a desert. In the past seven years or thereabout, the Nigerian National Park service has faced the most terrifying onslaught from insurgents, support zones communities, illegal loggers, criminal natural resources exploiters, Maiyetti Allah and its collaborative fulani herders, killing both Park Rangers, poisoning streams and waterways, wasting fauna and flora resources in the most devastating way.
In times of famine, particularly, funding for resources protection takes back stage. It has not been Uhuru for Nigeria National Park Service.
Apart from inadequate funding, the Parks have continued to lose patriotic work force to well armed insurgents, illegal loggers and fulani cattle herders who insists that Nigeria must not conserve our forest ecosystem.
It’s telling and worrisome, largely unknown to the world, then kind of mayhem and destruction that had been visited to Nigeria’s quest to conserve its silent beings and forests, for the future of the unborn generation.
The knowledge gap in Nigeria’s conservation trajectory is huge and are being exploited by well organised mafia within and outside the country.
Again unknown to many people, apart from the presence of flora and fauna resources in our forest management cycle, there lies mineral resources worth trillions of dollars to which the criminal gangs, in disguise of making our forests their homes, mines to oil their nefarious activities.
Godwin Obaseki, Edo state governor, is unarguably the only Nigerian state governor that has shown a measure of understanding to the consequences of unmitigated destruction of our forest economy and ecology.
At a recent workshop in Benin, Edo state capital, themed ” improved livelihood and environmental sustainability in Okomu forest landscape”, Obaseki, a well known developmental specialist, decried the ongoing earth raping and illegal logging in Okomu ecology frontier, particularly at Inikurugha, a support zone community to Okomu National Park which harbours the white throated monkeys and home to unique flora resources, not found elsewhere.
Governor Godwin obaseki intervention is critical and signposts the presence of a leadership, which understands both the local and international dimensions to dare consequences of climate change.
Unfortunately, Nigeria is yet see our forest management ecosystem as an economy, and plays Russian ruelette with it. We forget that in this century, the forest economy is the future and must be protected and preserved.
In kanji Lake National Park, the profuse illegal logging and destruction of that biosphere frontiers is unbelievable. The invading Boko Haram, fulani cattle grazers, supported by Maiyetti Allah notorious leadership, has plundered that end post to a very worrisome degree.
Indeed and as earlier stated, but for the patriotic officers and men of the Nigerian army, Kainji lake National Park, would have become history. Certainly, the entire kainji Hydro electric Dam and its fisheries resources, would have fallen into the hands of the criminal gangs but for resistance of the Nigerian army and the Park Rangers.
It is painful that in a supposed peace time, Park Rangers and even officers of the Nigerian military, had to lay down their lives to protect these forest enclaves and their silent beings.
From Enugu to Zamfara, OY0 and Cross River, no forest is free from this well organised soldiers of illegal loggers and mineral resources exploiters.
No doubt, we must be troubled by the unending bravado of these criminals in our midst and tackle their effontry through education and awareness programmes, targeting our communities, national and state legislators and the Judiciary.
The military assistance to protecting our ecological frontiers cannot be overemphasized but we wake up to properly fund and arm the Park Rangers Corp to the extent that will empower them not only to resist and dislodge threats within and around conservation areas but to form and provide support back up to national security architecture.
That is the bane of conservation security all over the world. Parks protective architecture are no longer seen as mere primary concern of the forests and marine conservation intents, but strategically deployed to ambush smuggling, illegal logging, human traffickers, poachers and invading insurgents and kidnappers who must find forests covers as home or transit camps.
So much said, time has come for Nigeria to initiate reforms that will place us at advantage in global environment management circles. Absorbing carbon emissions is big money and to protect and preserve both forest and marine resources, the best way to negotiate the future and drive our economy.
Significantly, President Muhammadu Buhari has done well to give the country, ten additional National Parks but state governors must also deploy critical ecological funds to support their sustainability. Places like Enugu and the Eastern frontiers, must also be captured in the national park ecosystem to ensure Nigeria meets the global benchmark in national nature resources management expectations.
We cannot as a nation, watch a critical live wire economy such as conservation go to the dogs. This is the time to think out of the box and act. Dr Ibrahim Goni led National Park service cannot do it alone. Goni has shown more than enough capacity, fronting the most futuristic collaboration with the Nigerian military authorities which is novel and impactful. National Park service needs the national assembly serious budgetry and sustainable policies backing more than ever before if we must defeat these hooligans and rascals threatening our future as a nation.