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Most Nigerian Forests are Home to Criminals: Minister

The Federal Government, through the Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas, has acknowledged the occupation of most forests in the country by criminal elements. The Minister said the federal government will mobilize enough armed forces to deal with bandits and other criminals who have taken over most of the nation’s forests. He said efforts are being made to clean up the forests of illegal loggers, poachers, bandits, and other criminals making lurking in the forests.

Abbas said these on  Thursday, 11th January 2024, during the ministry’s top management retreat at the Fifth Chukker Resort, Maraba-Jost Road, Kaduna.

According to him “It is quite unfortunate that most of our forests have been taken over by bandits, kidnappers and other terrorists that have been unleashing mayhem on innocent Nigerians,”.

He also said the matter is an issue bothering the President and government officials, stating that the Presidency is looking into “beefing up” the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the problem.

“We are liaising with the military, SSS, police, and other security agencies to remedy this ugly trend. He also mentioned that they are partnering with these security agencies at the moment and have charged them with investigating the claims.”

Abbas further said the government was considering introducing coastal guards to boost security on the Nation’s coasts.

“We will also look at other issues like perennial flooding, coastal and gully erosion, and other related environmental challenges plaguing parts of Nigeria,” the minister said.

The minister talked about environmental issues, stating that the various tree species in the country must be adequately protected, and the government is also doing everything humanly possible to address all environmental challenges.

“We will also look at other issues like perennial flooding, coastal and gully erosion, and other related environmental challenges plaguing parts of Nigeria,”  said the minister.

The minister also promised Nigerians that he will  “personally plant and nurture at least 50 trees in 2024 and encourage my immediate family to do the same. ” He made this ambitious promise in his New Year bulletin.

The Sambisa forest has been home to the Bokoharam and other terrorist groups since 2012. The communities that have been sacked by “bandits” and rogue herdsmen also say that their attackers come and go from the forests surrounding them.

Nigerian government officials have always spoken about the nation’s security challenges. What has been inadequate has been decisive action by the government to curb the menace. Nigerians deserve to live securely within their country’s borders. It is their earnest hope that the government will stop talking and start acting.

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