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The Conservator General, National Park Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, on Tuesday said about 1,129 square meters of forest reserves and national parks in the country were serving as hideouts for terrorists and bandits.

He stated that this was affecting the NPS to effectively meet its set objective which was to protect and conserve the biodiversity in the designated areas.

Goni however expressed the service’s readiness to partner with the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards safeguarding the nation’s forest reserve.

This was contained in a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr.

The CG was said to have led NPS management staff on a courtesy visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

It partly read, “Dr Goni noted that there was a need to sustain the existing synergy, by working together to tackle the current security challenges facing the nation.”

The CG explained that the collaborative arrangement would be on combat training of NPS personnel and logistic support in order to boost the Agency’s mandate of securing the forest reserves.

According to him, these forest reserves and national parks which are approximately 1,129 square metres have become hideouts for bandits and terrorists.

Goni, however, stated that the NPS was established for the purpose of protecting and conserving the biodiversity in the designated areas which he identified as national parks, game reserves and forest reserve.”

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Responding, the CDS, Gen Lucky Irabor, represented by the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Sanda reiterated the commitment of the AFN in collaborating with the NPS, describing the Service as a key agency in the security architecture of the nation.

He maintained that the relevant stakeholders must support the organization towards ensuring that the forests are well protected against criminalities.

The CDS charged NPS on the need to dominate the nation’s forests in terms of intelligence gathering and sharing of information with the military and other security agencies so as to checkmate every form of terror and other crimes.

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