Tinubu Plans ‘Strong Forces’ Against Bandits

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Minister of environment, Malam Balarabe Abbas Lawal, has disclosed that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government is planning engagement of strong forces that will rid Nigeria’s forests of criminal elements.
He said aside the security risks they constitute, bandits, poachers, kidnappers and other criminal elements hibernating in the Nigerian forests, are threats to the country’s Great Green Wall projects, aimed at fencing the country from desert encroachment.
Lawal who stated this in Kaduna when he opened a two-day top management retreat organised by the ministry, said though there are park rangers and forest guards in place, they are not enough to tackle the bandits and other criminals, hence the need to consider engaging more forces.
The retreat with the theme; “Policy Embedment and Prioritisation of Key Action For a Renewed Hope in Environmental Management”, had in attendance the minister of state for environment, Dr. Isiaq Salako, directors in the ministry, heads of agencies and resource persons.
According to the minister, “We have a very serious issue with our forests; our forests have become hibernation grounds for bandits, poachers and kidnappers. So, the only way we can save the forests and save our communities, is to do something very drastic about it. We need to get enough force into the forests to clean them of these miscreants that have turned our forest into something else. So, we are on it. We have similar issues in oil areas and mining sites.
“So, the government with the support of the president, will come up with a very strong measure of trying to get enough forces into the forests and flush these people out, because if we don’t do that, there is no way we are going to make progress in our great green wall, where we have invested a lot of money in trying to fence Nigeria from the encroachment of the desert.
“We already have Park Rangers and some Forest Guards, but they are ineffective because the boots on the ground are not enough to tackle the challenges we have; they don’t have enough force to confront the bandits and the rest of them.
“We have started doing something about this, that is why I visited the Minister of Blue Economy two days ago, because they are also talking about the issue of Coastal Guards, taking a queue from what Americans did when they were bedeviled by piracy in the 16th and 17th centuries,” he said.
While noting that the ministry has signed a performance bond with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on 18-point deliverables in the priority areas that relate to the ministry’s mandates, he said the retreat would centre most of its deliberations around the 18-point deliverables which are also in line with the 8-point agenda of the Tinubu’s administration.
While listing out some of the 18-point deliverables, the environment minister said, it is imperative that the retreat underscores the significance of National Climate Change Policy and recognize the pivotal role it plays in shaping the participants’ collective efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change.
According to the minister, “To accelerate Ogoni clean-up, participants of this retreat need to brainstorm on strategies to increase government commitment and support, improve capacity building, enhance monitoring and evaluation, create public awareness as well as, explore various conflict resolution mechanisms and international collaboration in Ogoni land.”


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