In his resolve to stamp out banditry, kidnapping and other security threats emanating from Forests, Parks and bushes used as dens and hideouts, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has donated two brand new Hilux Vans to the National Park Services (NPS) to enhance patrols towards weeding out criminal elements.
The COAS who was represented by Major General Fidelis Azinta, Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, made the presentation to the Conservator General Ibrahim Goni at the premises of the Command Officers Mess in Abuja in fulfilment of his pledge to assist the NPF left up capacity to secure the parks and forests.
Azinta said, “The issues of banditry and kidnapping will be reduced to the barest minimum with these vehicles which is the beginning of such partnership to prevent these criminal elements the use of our national parks and reserves.
“Our Chief of Army Staff (Lt. Gen TY Buratai) is a man of his words, who recognizes that when Security Agencies partner and work together, they will achieve greater results that could impact more positively on the National Security.
“What we have done by this presentation is to assure the National Park Service of Nigeria that we will continue to work with you to stamp out criminal elements who use our parks for their activities.
“The Chief of Army Staff also said I should assure you that all the Nigerian Army units, sub formations that are operating in the areas where you have parks and forest reserves have been put on standby to support you anytime you need them”.
He said the Army would continue to support the NPS in staff training and other areas they will call on him.
Speaking after receiving the vehicles, the Conservator General of the National Park Service Alhaji Ibrahim Goni who represented the Permanent Secretary ministry of environment, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, appreciated COAS for the kind gesture.
He said, “I will like to assure you sir, that the vehicles will be used strictly for patrols to enhance the capacity of park rangers for effective protection and to improve the level of security in the country.
“It is my fervent prayer that this partnership will be sustained and taken to higher level in order to promote our collective efforts towards making Nigeria safe”.
He called on other Security agencies and Para-military including the Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Police etc to emulate the Nigerian Army by partnering with NPS.
Earlier, the Director of Procurement and Projects office of Army Standards and Evaluation, Major General Adeyemi Adetayo said the gesture by the COAS became necessary to help checkmate criminal activities across the national parks, reserves and forests noting that the parks across the country have turned to criminal hideouts.
He assured that all the reserves in the country will be adequately protected to help get rid of the criminal activities.
It would be recalled that in April this year, the Nigerian Army held a seminar/workshop for the National Park Service on curtailing the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in the parks, one of which is Sambisa Forest, used as haven by terrorists, during which the Conservator General appealed to the COAS to support NPS with vehicles to help patrol the forests and packs.
The donation of the vehicles is therefore a fulfilment of the COAS promise to assist the NPS enhance capacity towards securing the forests and parks.
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