President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the return of Pandam Game Reserve in Plateau State and nine others to the state governments for proper management of the facilities.
The decision to handover Pandam Game Reserve in Quanpan Local Government and the nine others, the president said, was part of the strategy to develop tourism, security and economic opportunities for the people in the country.
Buhari’s approval was disclosed by Conservator General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Goni, during a courtesy visit to the Plateau State government lodge in Abuja.
Goni, who did not list the others, said the application by Plateau State Government for the take over of the park and its upgrade into a National Park has been pending since 2012, and after due analysis and recommendation, the President approved it out of the many applications from States.
He said when the take over is completed, all staff of the Park who wish to join the National Park Service will be absorbed. In addition, he told state governor, Simon Lalong, that security of the Park will be enhanced with technology and more personnel.
More infrastructures, according to him, will also be provided for the park to boost tourism and enhance its fortunes through international funding such as the Green Fund.
The conservative general added that jobs will be created for the host community who will benefit from activities in and around the Park.
Responding, Lalong said that lack of information had fueled unfounded anxiety by some people who think the State is losing the Park. This according to him is not correct as the State is rather going to gain by having Federal interventions that will make the Park more viable, safe and secure.
The Governor said that apart from improving the value of the Park, there is going to be better security of the reserve which has in recent times become a hideout for criminals.
He invited the Conservator General and his team to visit Plateau State immediately for further interface with key stakeholders towards the smooth takeover of the Park.