…Calls for the establishment of more National Parks in the Niger Delta region.

In an effort to further the development of the Niger Delta Region, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang has met with the Conservator- General of National Park Service Dr. Ibrahim Goni to explore the possibility of establishing more National Parks in the region.

Receiving the Conservator-General in his office, the Presidential aide thanked the Conservator General for the visit and expressed the willingness of his office to partner with the National Park Service to protect these resources in the Niger Delta region. He called for the establishment of more National Parks in the region, in view of the rich bio-diversity of the area. He added that establishing more National Parks in the region will have far-reaching implications on the security situation of the area, in view of the country’s current security challenges.

He specifically proposed for the establishment of a National Park around Itu-Ini, Ikono and Eastern Obolo areas of Akwa-Ibom State and the adjoining forest of Arochukwu-Ohafia area in Abia state to ensure that the forest belt which is under serious threat is protected, in order that the people of the area enjoy benefits of sustainable conservation. He promised to liaise with the government of Akwa-Ibom State for the proposed National Park.

The Conservator-General informed the SSA that the Niger Delta region is important to the Park Service because of the rich ecosystem diversity of the region, noting that the region boasts of rainforests, wetlands, marine, mangrove, montane and derived savannah ecosystems, which are of high conservation value but threatened. He stressed that the Park Service looks forward to strategic partnerships in protecting the country’s critical natural environment in all the geo-political zones of the country. The Conservator-General lamented that about 60% of the country’s valuable forest estate is lost and most of what is left is currently under threat, hence the commitment of the Park Service to reverse the trend.

Further, the Conservator-General informed the SSA of the ten(10) new National Parks recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, remarking that two(2) of the new Parks are located in the Niger Delta region, He however, regretted that the South East is the only geo-political zone in the country without a National Park. The SSA promised to liaise with the governments of Ebonyi, Abia, Imo and Enugu States to facilitate the establishment of National Parks in the zone.

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