By Alex Abutu
Bauchi State Governor, Mohammad Abdullahi Abubakar, has threatened to sanction traditional rulers or communities that allow illegal hunting or grazing in the state’s games reserve.
Abubakar who was represented by Alhaji Danlami Garba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism gave the directive at the passing out of rangers trained by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as part of the conservation management arrangement in Yankari Games Reserve, noted that the wildlife at the reserve were been threatened by human activities.
“Government will hold the traditional rulers of communities responsible in the event of hunting wild animals and encroachment into the reserve,” he said.
He said that Bauchi State was determined to develop its natural resources endowment to generate employment and create wealth for its citizens.
“The overdependence of the nation on oil and the resultant low prices have created huge deficit in the national and states’ budgets which has become an impediment to the provision of social amenities and good governance to our teaming masses,” the governor added.
Also speaking, Mr Andrew Dunn, WCS Country Director, said that the society has invested in the training of the rangers so as to protect wildlife at the reserve.
“The rangers here have received the best training offered rangers in Nigeria. The job ahead of them is tough and they need to be supported and encouraged if the hope of making Yankari an international attraction is to be achieved,” Dunn said.
Dunn noted that Yankari was the last place in Nigeria where elephants reside, adding that “if we allow the elephants to go into extinction as a result of human activities, then the aspiration of making the game reserve an international attraction would not be attained.”
Daily Trust recalls that Nigeria was sanctioned earlier this year by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for failing to meet her obligations to protect elephants and deal with the rampant illegal ivory trade.