a travel journalist, one major area of this call is reporting the tourism value chain in natural resources conservation of which our flora and fauna population is a critical mixed bag. In a layman’s language, the forest ecosystem, of which animal resources, rivers, lakes and inlets, not excluding mountains, hills and scenic beautifications, is seen as harbouring the intent to set aside such identified locations for the sake of future environmental concerns, studies, research and recreation.
These critical laboratories of gene pool, hydrologic, agricultural and pharmaceutical nature ‘central bank’ should be part of development at local, state and federal government levels. While the local and state governments are mandated to grow such nature buffer zones, rightly called forest or game reserves, the federal government runs the bigger enclaves known as national parks, through its agency, the National Park Service, under the ministry of environment.
One major feature, a very significant attribute of these levels of management of our nature resources, is the total ban and restriction of any type of human activities within these demarcated and often mapped areas, no grazing, farming, wood logging, fishing or indiscriminate bush burning is allowed, which makes such haven(s) a protected nature wonderland.
And to protect these areas, there are game and forest rangers fully armed to confront poachers and other illegal occupiers or natural resources traders. Our history in this area is rather sad considering the huge eco-tourism gains made from nature conservation in South Africa, Kenya and even in Cameroun not to talk about the United States where it all started with the Yellow Stone National Park centuries ago.
Indeed, the state of our forest/game reserve ecosystems is really in bad shape with most of them out of order, deliberately neglected and sold off as farmlands or grazing colonies, which has hindered a seamless conservation connection and upgrading of such facilities to national parks.
Sambisa, Lame Burra, Jos wildlife reserve, Area J4, Kuyunbana and Falgore, located in Borno, Bauchi, Plateau, Ogun and Zamfara states, respectively, are all creation of colonial masters who saw to our future need in forest ecosystem conservation and made it a feature of Nigeria’s developmental goal.
Unfortunately, our leaders have never appreciated the importance of the national resources value chain in this critical reserved areas, hence their neglect and poor policy cover for their sustainable growth and development. It is, therefore, worrisome to me and, I am sure, to the local and international conservation community, the call by Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State, inviting all Fulani herdsmen to come graze their cattle at Falgore forest reserve.
That invitation by the Kano State strongman was not only misplaced, it is a strategic invitation to anarchy, rape of nature, an open door to desertification, destruction of the famous Tiga Dam and open access to hoodlums to maraud into Lame Burra game reserve in Bauchi, which shares borders with Falgore to the east of Kano.