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Army to make Sambisa forest tourist site – Buratai

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Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai Monday said he has given the directive that the Sambisa forest be turned into an ecosystem resort centre.

Buratai, who spoke in Abuja at a seminar on: “Regimentation and Combating Security  Challenges Associated with Forests and Protected Areas in Nigeria’’, said the centre would serve as a place where war relics of the past few years in the North East will be maintained as historical sites for tourism.

The theme of the seminar is: “Enhancing Synergy between the Nigerian Army and National Park Service: National Security in Perspective.’’

The Chief of Staff, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Army, Major-General Ali Nani, said the site would attract scholars and tourists as well as generate revenue for the country.

“I have also directed that the Sambisa forest should be turned into an Ecosystem Resort Centre where war relics of the past few years in the North East will be maintained as historical sites for tourism,’’ he said.

Buratai, however, decried the gradual deforestation in the country, saying that it had constituted danger for the ecosystem and the national security.

He said this development necessitated the setting up of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East and other operations across the country.

“As I speak now, HARBIN KUNAMA IV is being launched in Gusau, Zamfara. The exercise will later dovetail into real time operation. This will involve large scale deployment of personnel and logistics movement to cover Suburu, Kagara, Gando, Dumburum forests in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states.

He said the aim was to flush out bandits and insurgent groups from some identified forest areas.

“There is the need for all stakeholders to partner to deliberate on how to salvage our forests and parks from poachers, insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and bandits.

 “I have just directed the Department of Army Standards and Evaluation to ensure that my directive for the establishment of mini zoos in all army barracks is enforced.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Standards and Evaluation, Maj.-Gen. Adekunle said  the seminar would  assist to build capacity of troops in combating the emerging security challenges associated with game reserves, forests and protected areas across the nation.

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