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December 18, 2020

Press Briefing by Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar On National Issues and Concern Relating to Environment Sector

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Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you to this important Press Briefing. It is organized to brief you and the nation that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) has graciously approved the establishment of ten (10) additional National Parks bringing the total number of the National Parks in the Country to Seventeen (17). I will also brief you on the efforts of the Ministry in the Control of the second wave of the Covid-19.

2. The details of the new National Parks are as follows:

1. Allawa Game Reserve
Allawa National Park
310 km2
Niger

2. Apoi Forest Reserve
Apoi National Park
64.77 km2
Bayelsa

3. Edumenum Forest Reserve
Edumenum National Park
86.76 km2
Bayelsa

4. Falgore Game Reserve
Falgore National Park
920 km2
Kano

5. Hadeja Wetland Game Reserve
Hadeja Wetland National Park
320 km2
Jigawa

6. Kampe Forest Reserve
Kampe National Park
652.86 km2
Kwara

7. Kogo Forest Reserve
Kogo National Park
212.66 km2
Katsina

8. Marhai Forest Reserve
Marhai National Park
54.00 km2
Nasarawa

9. Oba Hill Forest Reserve
Oba Hills National Park
52.5 km2
Osun

10. Pandam Forest Reserve
Pandam National Park
244 km2
Plateau

3. ​To give credence and legal backing to this worthy cause, an Executive Bill will soon be presented to the National Assembly for further necessary action.

4.​ It should be noted that, the first National Park in Nigeria, Kanji Lake was created in 1979. This was followed by six (6) others spread across the country namely:

i.​ Kamuku National Park​​-​Kaduna State
​ii.​ Kainji Lake National Park​-​Niger and Kwara States
​iii.​ Gashaka-Gumti National Park -​Adamawa & Taraba States
iv.​ Chad Basin National Park​-​Borno and Yobe States
v.​ Okomu National Park​​-​Edo State
​vi.​ Cross River National Park​-​Cross River State
​vii. ​Old Oyo National Park​-​Oyo State

5.​ The creation of additional National Parks in Nigeria has become imperative in view of the prevailing effects of climate change across the globe. This action is geared towards the United Nation’s policy of placing 25% of its member countries’ landmass under permanent vegetation cover for carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and ameliorate other ecological challenges. It may interest you to note that Nigeria currently has 6.7% of her total landmass under vegetation cover which is grossly inadequate in line with global best practices. The creation of these Parks will no doubt, further create more employment opportunities, alleviate poverty in rural areas and ultimately enhance the country’s revenue profile especially now that Nigeria is seeking to diversify her economy.

6.​ The seventeen (17) National Parks cut across the ecological zones of the country except the marine eco-system. National Parks are areas reserved and managed for conservation of wildlife and natural resources. The Parks contain several rich and diverse varieties of rare endangered species like Elephants, Gorillas, Giraffes, Monkeys, Golden Cats, Hippopotami, crocodiles etc and a host of plant species.

7.​ The functions of the National Park Service involve surveillance, patrolling, checking illegal activities of poachers in the Parks, enforcement of relevant international treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory, public enlightenment on the protection and conservation of plants and animals, assisting researchers and searching, arresting and prosecuting offenders.

8. ​Some of the benefits of the National Parks include the protection of life support systems such as watersheds and water catchment areas. National Parks have great potentials for the development of research, particularly on agriculture, medicine and bio-technology. They also serve as field laboratories for Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions. The National Parks are Nigeria’s eco-treasure and have the potentials of contributing substantially to the National economy when fully developed as obtains in East and Southern Africa.

9.​ Gentlemen of the Press, as you are very much aware National Security is crucial to Protected Areas. It is also regrettable that most State Owned Forest Reserves today have become dens of criminal activities. Therefore, in a bid to further add impetus to the current fight against insurgency as well as other organized crimes such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry amongst others, the creation of these National Parks will provide the much needed apparatus to ward off criminal elements living or looking for hide outs in those Areas.

10.​ Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important at this juncture to note that in order to ensure maximum security and benefits of these National Parks enunciated above, Mr. President has also directed that the Federal Ministry of Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources as well as that of Interior should work together to ensure the attainment of the targets.

11.​ At this junction, it is necessary that we remind ourselves that Nigeria is witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 Infection going by the records of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. This resurgence, the second wave as it is known, is hitting Countries and Territories with varying degrees of impact. The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, has been advocating to Nigerians to observe safety provisions in the Protocol for Corona Virus Disease control in the Country.

12.​ In the wake of the resurgence, the Federal Ministry of Environment has already begun Terminal Environmental Decontamination/Disinfection of Premises where COVID-19 cases have been recorded stemming out of requests from such quarters. We, as a Ministry are determined to continue to support the Federal Government’s coordinated response to the Pandemic. As previously done, the Ministry is poised to once again render qualitative services.

13.​ You will recall that the Ministry, being one of the Line COVID-19 Response Ministries, proactively mobilized the general public at the inception of the infections earlier this year, towards understanding the nature, mode of spread and control measures. In the whole, maintenance of sterility of Premises, Containments, Dwellings, Offices is the main objective of the Ministry’s Decontamination/Disinfection intervention in order for their users to be safeguarded from letting in the Virus and other microbes into their systems.

14. ​It is once more necessary to re-echo the need for Nigerian Citizens to adhere strictly to provisions of the COVID-19 control protocol as the main barriers of the virus spread. To this end, Hand hygiene, Respiratory hygiene, Avoidance of crowd, Physical distancing as well as terminal and concurrent decontamination/disinfection must continue to be adopted by all and sundry.

15.​ It is my firm conviction that decontamination/disinfection as acclaimed by international standards, is contributing immensely to the containment of the spread of Corona virus in Nigeria. I would like to appeal to Nigerians to embrace the safe utilization of Decontamination formulations and administration by engaging only licensed Environmental Health Practitioners for Decontamination/Disinfection Services as an efficient non pharmaceutical Corona control measure.

16.​ Against this backdrop, the Federal Ministry of Environment is thanking Mr. President for this giant stride which is targeted towards achieving wildlife conservation that is in tandem with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and addressing internal security. We also appreciate the efforts of government in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in the Country. It is our prayer and hope that this second wave of the Pandemic will be promptly controlled effectively.

We are grateful to the Media for your continuous support and cooperation.

Thank you and God Bless.

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