The Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, is set to collaborate with the National Park Service to find solutions to the widespread use of forests within Nigeria by criminals as effective hideouts to perpetrate all manner of crimes within the urban and rural areas of the country. This was disclosed during a meeting between the Conservator-General, of the National Park Service Dr Ibrahim Musa Goni, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters DHQ, in Abuja.
The meeting was held to explore plans geared towards stopping the activities of bandits turning forests into criminal hideouts across the country.
General Olonisakin said that, “In furtherance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s commitment in tackling insecurity in the country, I had a meeting with Conservator-General, National Park Service with a view to collaborate with the agency in order to get rid of bandits who have turned forests to their safe haven.”
Banditry has taken a wider dimension in recent years in Nigeria, and the forests have been safer haven for most of the perpetrators of kidnapping, terrorist attacks, and violent ethnic militia who commit grievous crimes and recluse into the forests leaving little or no trace.
There have been occasions when secret training centres have been organised in the forests, as well as cases of inhuman occultic ritual activities.
This collaboration is set to benefit the fight against crime and criminals in many ways. The National Park Service trains its staff to be rangers familiar with the forests. But they are not necessarily well armed to confront violent criminals. Hence, they could work together with the military and bring their knowledge of the forests to bear.
The National Park Service was established in 1979 under the military administration of Olusegun Obasanjo.