Miners Beware: Parks No Go Area

By Frank Meke

It was like interpreting a war movie script. Across the country, well armed and technology backed intelligent criminal gangs have zeroed attention on invading Nigeria’s protected areas in search of minerals resources and willing to eliminate and destroy anything or persons at sight irrespective perceived resistance.

Nigerian National Parks, seventeen in number, holds in trust for generations unborn, critical, and unique flora and fauna resources, including several minerals resources, assets vital to national socioeconomic development and advancement in science, agriculture , fisheries, green tourism , hydrology, pharmacology and climate change.

The laboratory values of Nigeria’s conserved biosphere ecosystem are intrinsic and, over time, have become the destructive destination of illegal loggers, and now, illegal mining agents , armed to the teeth and ready to spill blood.

These earth rapers suspected to be special units of the gestapo and rampaging army of insurgents from Zamfara and Niger states operate in coordinated and clandestine militarism, ready to pull triggers at anyone or groups that may stop them from their illegal mining activities.

Recently, at the rich biosphere space of old OYO National Park, the criminals in connivance with strange cattle breeders also suspected as cross-border cow minders invaded the Park and when confronted by the Eagle eyed team of Park Rangers, resisted arrest and subsequently pulled out their hidden arsenal of sophisticated guns and wasted two gallant Rangers.

Unfortunately for the criminals, the two Rangers before being gunned down had called for reinforcement , which speedily ambushed their gateway from the scene of crime and arrested thirty-seven of them who were now guests of the Nigerian police. No doubt they have a date with the courts soon for murder and wilful and deliberate damage to earth resources under protection.

In Niger state, the Park Rangers at Kainji Lake National Park, in collaboration with the Nigerian military, have made life unbearable for the invading army of nature criminal elements , determined to exploit resources under protection to fund their insurgency and purchase ammunition.

In Cross River National Park, Park Rangers in swift response, proactively engaged heavily armed illegal Miners at ifumpa axis of the Akamkpa sector of the Park, neutralising their effort and arraigned them in court.

It was a red flag operation, a critical warning call-out signal by the National Park Service under Dr Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator General of the Federation, to all illegal loggers, miners , grazers and poachers of fauna and flora resources, that enough is enough, indicative of the grave consequences which awaits unwanted visitors to Nigeria’s protected green. environment

Justice Okokon Essisen , the presiding judge of the magistrate Court in Akamkpa, clamped the nature terrorists to six months imprisonment, though with an option of two hundred thousand naira each.

Justice okokon stated that the activities of the illegal miners in Park contravened section 31 (1) (p) on illegal mining and also on illegal entry as captured under section 30(1)[O] of the National Park Service laws.

The convicted miners languishing at the calabar facilities of Nigerian correctional service were unable to meet up their options of jail conditions as provided by section, 37( 1) 37(2) [c] 37(1) (2) [b] respectively.

Lamenting the renewed interest by illegal mining agents in the Parks across the country, the Conservator General disclosed that all unit parks have been put on red alert to arrest, demobilise all strange and illegal visitors in the protected areas, adding that Park Rangers have paid the supreme price to ensure that the covers Nigerian green biospheres were no longer busstops for illegalities and market places for insurgents.

Consoling families of the two gallant Rangers who lost their lives in the not too recent old OYO debacle, in persons of late Deputy Conservator of Park, A. P Ayemboba and Chief Park Inspector, A. Adedokun, the CG, praised the commitment and patriotic dedication of Nigerian Park Rangers, adding that the late officers did not die in vain and would not be forgotten in the history of conservation management in Nigeria.

He warned that national parks management will do everything in its power and in accordance with the laws, to bring to justice any persons and groups that may want to turn Nigeria’s protected areas to endposts of illegal natural resources exploitation and destruction.

Nigeria , Dr Goni further added, is troubled by enemies of its socioeconomic and political development in recent times, who have vowed to stop and kill security agencies from frustrating their rebellious activities, noting that NPS is ever determined to keep away nature criminals away protected areas ecosystem, particularly as the world is battling with effects of climate change hazards, driven by extremely misplaced aggression by illegal activities of mankind, particularly daring rouges prospecting and speculating on earth resources for selfish reasons.

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