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Conservator General begs Army to intervene as bandits take over Cross River forests



Conservator General of the National Park Service Abuja, Dr Ibrahim Goni represented by Assistant Conservator General for Eco-Tourism, ACG Ahmed Abdullahi has emphasised that the teeming invaders of Ifumkpa and many other Cross River communities may be bandits, not necessarily mining gold and other precious stones.

Speaking in Calabar at an event organised by the Wildlife Conservation Society, he said the sheer presence of foreigners in Nigerian forests, especially those of Cross River State, poses huge disaster and great security risks.

He said most miners that have invaded the forests in the guise of mining come with armed men and criminals.

He explained that the aim is to intimidate and sack such communities to perpetuate their nefarious activities.


He said, “The situation in Cross River State is very serious. These so-called miners are a very serious security challenge. They have perpetuated themselves inside the National Park.

“They have huge financial muscles to fight anyone that dares to challenge them. Their presence is not a joke.

“Concerned security agencies in both Cross River and Nigeria must wake up now so that we don’t have the situations prevalent in Zamfara, Niger and other devastated States in the northeast part of the country.

“It should not be seen as a problem of the National Parks Service but the state and Nigeria as a whole.”

He recalled that the explosion witnessed a few weeks ago in Oyo State was explosives stored by miners.


Also speaking, the Conservator of CRNP, Mrs Caroline Olory said a good number of her men, the forest rangers, were beaten and harmed on Monday, 21 February 2024.

As against reports by community youths, she denied that the bandits who posed as miners disarmed her men but that during the struggle, a rifle was destroyed.

Olory confirmed that they have been able to arrest 20 of the illegal miners who have already entrenched themselves by building permanent houses inside the Park, a protected area by law.

“My men, the rangers, were on patrol with some soldiers on Monday to enforce laws that created the CRNP. But they were attacked, beaten and a rifle destroyed. We have been able to raid 20 of the perpetrators.”

The traditional head of Ifumkpathe community in Akamkpa LGA of the state, Cletus Ibuni confirmed that increasing numbers of strange men have been in his community forests, mining gold but that they have posed great risks to him and his people.


“We strongly call on both state and federal governments to send platoons of soldiers and detachments of policemen to our village. Our lives are at risk. The forest rangers are threatened. They can’t do much.”

Source link: Daily Post

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