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Army declares Sambisa Forest global tourist centre

Seminar on “Combatting Security Challenges Associated with Forest and Protected Areas in Nigeria” yesterday in Abuja. Photo/Twitter/HQNigerianArmy

The Nigerian Army has declared Sambisa Forest, stronghold of Boko Haram terrorists, before the military captured it on December 24, 2016 as a global ecosystem tourist centre to generate revenue.

It covers about 600,000 square kilometres and spreads to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai disclosed this at the seminar on “Combatting Security Challenges Associated with Forest and Protected Areas in Nigeria” yesterday in Abuja.

Buratai, who was represented by Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Maj-Gen. Ali Nani, also hinted that mini zoos and parks would be established in Army barracks across the country.

According to him, the affinity between soldiers and animals are assumed to bring good luck, adding: “It is generally believed that the spirit lodged in the mascots propels a fighting force to victory. This belief creates high morale and psychological spirit of courage in troops.”

He said that Barracks Investment Initiative Programme (BIIP) is to encourage military personnel to engage in agro-allied activities.

He, therefore, tasked the National Parks Service to be proactive in the management of parks and forests such as Kuyan Bana, Dan Saudau and Subudu in Zamfara State, as well as Allawa, Pandogari and Kagara forests in Niger and the Falgore Games Reserve in Kano.

Others are Allargano, Sambisa, Chingurmi-Bugama axis of Chad Basin National Parks in Borno, Gujba Forest in Yobe, Rugu forest in Katsina and Lame Bura Balmo Forest in Bauchi.

Nani, however, lamented that all the forests and parks were now havens for criminals, kidnappers, armed bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.

Besides, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has approved a reorganisation of the Nigerian Navy in which no fewer than 32 Rear Admirals and other senior officers were redeployed.

A statement issued by Director, Naval Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, revealed that Rear Admiral Begroy Enyinna Ibe-Enwo is now new Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, while Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, formerly Commander, Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe, moves to Defence Headquarters as Chief of Defence Administration.

Also, Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick, formerly Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, is now Chief of Training and Operations, Naval Headquarters, while Rear Admiral Obi Ofodile has been named Director of Plans, Defence Headquarters, among others.

Meanwhile, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) has paraded Cephas Atii, a Mauritanian telecoms engineer and Mzuuga Teryila, a motorcyclist, for alleged involvement in the manufacturing of AK47 and other arms at Tine-Nunne in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

At inception, the OPWS was mandated to tackle herdsmen insurgence and other criminal activities in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states.

Parading the suspects before newsmen at the OPWS Headquarters in Makurdi, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, said they were arrested at Anyiin and Tinenune in Logo and Ukum local government areas.

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