The Minister of Environment, Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, has said that all Park Rangers in National Parks nationwide will be upgraded to paramilitary status.
She made the disclosure recently in Abuja during the inauguration of the Steering Committee on the Commercialisation of National Parks.
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organisation are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state’s formal armed forces.
Welcoming the members of the committee, Mailafia explained that the establishment of the committee is an important milestone in the commercialisation process which began over a decade ago, when National Parks were listed on Section 6 (Part1) of the Privatisation and Commercialisation Act 28 of 1999.
She charged the committee to work assiduously within the terms of reference (TOR), which include: reviewing and updating any policies existing on forestry, wildlife and ecotourism; articulating fresh policies on the conservation and protection of National Parks; reviewing and updating the legal and regulatory frameworks governing the National Parks services.
Also in the terms of reference included: reviewing and agreeing on the role of the National Parks Services and other stakeholders within the framework of commercialisation, and subsequent introduction of Public Private Partnership (PPP) where viable in the National Parks; coordinating the interface between the National Parks Service, Park operators and other stakeholders in the unfolding partial commercialisation of the National Parks; and, ensuring the successful implementation of the partial commercialisation of the National Parks.
The minister noted that the membership, spread across relevant government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), was deliberately designed with a view to articulating a commercialisation framework that would ensure active participation of communities’ stakeholders in the sustainable management of the parks.