The Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine (2nd Right), Conservator-General, Ibrahim Musa Goni (2nd Left), in a group photograph with two other delegates of National Park Service (NPS), on Wednesday 19th September, 2018 at the Audit House Abuja - PHOTO: Gabriel Alade
The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation has expressed willingness to support the National Park Service in delivering on its mandate of preserving, enhancing, protecting and managing vegetation and wild animals in the national parks of Nigeria.
The Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine, gave the assurance on Wednesday 19th September, 2018, when a three-man delegation from the National Park Service (NPS), led by the Conservator-General, Ibrahim Musa Goni, paid him a courtesy visit at the Audit House in Abuja.
Ayine said most of the environmental issues being experienced in the country, especially the recent flooding in some states, can be traced to the encroachment of man on the environment; adding that the advocacy visit was necessary to sensitize the public on the need to preserve and protect our natural resources.
He urged the Conservator-General and his team to do more to maintain the natural vegetation of the National Parks, rather than trying to modernize them stressing that “the attraction for tourists is not the modernization of our ranches, but the maintenance of the natural vegetation.”
The Auditor-General lamented that Nigeria was yet to benefit from the activities of the National Park Service in terms of revenue generation, and this is largely due to the fact that Nigerians do not fully appreciate the value and importance of the NPS.
He reiterated, “As an Office, we agree that there should be value addition to our auditee organizations, and as such, we will be willing to support you in any way that we can, especially in terms of guidance and advice”.
The Conservator-General, National Park Service, Ibrahim Musa Goni, said in his remarks earlier that the purpose of the advocacy visit was borne out of the need to sensitize Nigerians on the activities of the NPS by reaching out to major stakeholders.
Group Photograph of Management Staff of the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation and delegates from the National Park Service on Wednesday 19th September 2018 at the Audit house Abuja. –PHOTO: Gabriel Alade
Goni said Nigeria is yet to meet up with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria for National Parks which advocates for a minimum of 25% of the country’s land allocation to be given for forest cover, sufficient budget and staff to provide effective protection of parks, prohibition of exploitation of natural resources (including the development of dams) qualified by such activities as hunting, fishing, etc.
He called on state governments to support the vision of the NPS by voluntarily allocating more lands for park services, noting that there was need to increase the number of National Parks in the country, as well as encourage and attract more visitors in other to boost revenue generation.
There are currently seven National Parks in the country and the Nigeria National Park Service, a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of the Environment, is responsible for their maintenance, working closely with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.
The first national park was Kainji Lake, established in 1979. The National Parks Governing Board and five new National Parks were set up in 1991. The Yankari Game Reserve was upgraded to a national park in 1992, but was later handed over to the Bauchi State government in June 2006.
The parks cover a total land mass area of approximately 20,156 SQ KM, about 3% of Nigeria's total land area.
In another development, the Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine, took an inspection tour to the newly installed e-library of the Office to ascertain the level of work done ahead of its commissioning.
Ayine who was impressed by the progress of work done on the project, expressed optimism that the library will be a very rich resource to members of staff.
The Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine (1st Right) watches on as Computer Analyst, Adetola Owope, conducts a test-run on one of the computer systems during the Inspection of facilities at the E-Library on Wednesday 19th September 2018 at the Audit House. –Photo: David Onoja
Besides the e-library, the office is equally working towards having facilities to access records of key Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to carry out audit on them more conveniently and efficiently from the office, as it will grant them access to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS) and Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, (GIFMIS) platforms.
Head of the e-library Department, Nwokocha Benedicta Akuezi, who guided the Auditor-General through the facility, said the e-library will enable staff of the office access to information resources online. The library has about 13 computer systems.
For: D. D. (Information)