By Adebote O’ Seyifunmi
As Nigeria joined the world to celebrate World Ranger Day on July 31; the Conservator-General of Nigeria National Park Service, Mr. Ibrahim Musa Goni has appreciated the selfless efforts of rangers across the country ensuring the protection of Nigeria’s biodiversity within the National Parks and other protected areas.
The Nigeria National Park Service on Monday, July 31st, held an event to commemorate the World Ranger day at the National Park Service Headquarters, Abuja. Besides the National Park Service’s members of staff, led by the Conservator-General, Mr. Ibrahim Musa Goni; in attendance were the Director General of the Nigeria Conservation Foundation Mr. ‘Niyi Karunwi, represented by Mr. Mohammed Garba Boyi; the Director of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Tiyamiyu, S.O, the Director General of National Bio-safety Management Agency (NABMA), Dr. Rufus Egbegba, among others.
The Conservator-General urged Nigerians to show support to Rangers across Nigeria. He also stressed some of the challenges Rangers face in ensuring the protection of Nigeria’s wild resources – both fauna and flora. Mr. Goni further pleaded with relevant organizations and individuals, especially in rural areas to support the cause of Rangers across the country towards conserving Nigeria’s biodiversity.
According to International Ranger Federation, 105 Rangers were killed worldwide in the past year. In Nigeria, it is on record that 28 rangers have died in active service across the country. Meanwhile, Nigeria has 7 National parks: Old Oyo National Park in Oyo State, Okomu National Park in Edo State, Kamuku National Park in Kaduna State, Kainji Lake National Park in Niger and Kwara State, Gashaka Gumti National Park in Taraba and Adamawa State, Cross River National Park in Cross River State, Chad Basin National Park in Borno and Yobe State.
The Conservator-General hailed the supports made by individuals and organization towards the families of Rangers who died in service; he further called on well-meaning Nigerians to join in raising awareness of poaching activities within the National Parks and protected areas across Nigeria.
The first World Ranger Day was observed on July 31st, 2007. Annually, July 31 is celebrated as World Ranger Day, a day to memorialize Rangers killed or injured on the field. It is also a day to commend the critical work Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures/biodiversity.