The national parks of Nigeria face tremendous challenges and yet, they could play a significant role in the development of the country as it strives to diversify away for the oil and gas sector. In other countries, national parks are economic assets, engines for development that generate employment for thousands of and provide revenue to government. This is in addition to providing critical ecosystem services that are essential for supporting a healthy environment which we rely upon for food, clean air, and water.
It was a belief in a vision of what the national parks could become that, in 2017, ANI Foundation signed a 30-year Partnership Agreement with National Park Service (NPS) to provide technical, management and financial support for Gashaka Gumti National Park. We salute the Ministry of Environment and the National Park Service for this visionary move in signing the first agreement of its kind in Nigeria to co-manage a national park with a not-for-profit organization. ANI Foundation and the National Park Service have developed a strong working partnership based on openness, trust, and mutual respect.
It was due to our successful partnership regarding Gashaka Gumti National Park, that the National Park Service invited ANI to partner with them to support and develop Okomu National Park in Edo State.
At the same time, the Edo State Government requested that we take over the management of Gilli-Gilli Forest Reserve and the southern section of Okomu Forest Reserve both of which are adjacent to Okomu National Park. This latest partnership opens the door to closer collaboration between the federal and state government on the conservation and protection of protected areas in Nigeria.
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