By Udora Orizu in Abuja
To generate revenue through the tourism sector, the Federal Government has inaugurated a Local Organising Committee (LOC) to protect and develop Gashaka Gumti National Park.
The committee is to steer the implementation of the partnership between the National Park Service and Africa Nature Investors (ANI) foundation for the provision of technical and financial support for conservation activities.
Speaking during the inauguration in Abuja, Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, emphasised that the partnership agreement between the two organisations was subject to the policies and guidelines to be issued from time to time by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) on partial commercialisation.
According to the him, “the collaboration was conceived and entered into through proper consultation with relevant stakeholders such as BPE and culminated into a visit to Kenya to confirm the credibility of the firm ANI before the agreement was signed.
Jibril advised the committee members to ensure that their roles and responsibility do not in any way contravene the provisions of the enabling Act of the National Park Service and other extant laws of the government.
Director of ANI Foundation, Tunde Morakinyo, said his group is discussing MoUs with two international conservation Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that will bring some of the best technical expertise in Africa to the management of the park.
He said: “Over the coming year, the LOC will focus on securing the park by strengthening the park rangers. Developing job creation initiatives for the local communities will also be an important focus so they have a stake in its protection and development.”