As part of celebrations marking World rangers day to commemorate its fallen heroes, Kaduna State government has called on people to desist from cutting down trees and harming rangers guarding the forest.
While speaking in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna, the Deputy Director Forestry on Shelter Belt, Ministry of Environment, Malam Idris Muhammad said, the State government has made reforms on forestry laws and policies.
According to him, “the new law states that, any person who cuts down a tree in Kaduna will pay a fine of five hundred thousand naira or risk being jailed for six months or punished with both”.
Idris appreciated Kaduna State government for reforming the laws and policies affecting forestry department, adding that, the reforms were last made in 1938.
“Government has also provided us with uniforms for easy identification. It has also created the shelter belt which was set between all boundaries of the Local government areas and some neighbouring States to prevent desertification in the State”.
He explained further that, people are unaware of the fact that, every tree cut in the forest affects the lives of almost 400 ecosystem of different species including humans, “this is so because the air humans inhale is released by the trees while the trees consumes the air we breathe out, showing, the relationship between the humans and the forest”.
Malam Idris further explained that, the World Rangers Day is celebrated on the 31st July of every year to commemorate the fallen heroes who lost their lives in line of duty. “The World Rangers Day is celebrated on July 31st on the anniversary of the founding of the International Ranger Federation (IRF) since 2007”.
According to Idris, the day is set aside to commemorate rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and to celebrate the bravery of those on the field, saying, numerous rangers face challenges in the discharge of their duties which had led to loss of lives or being maimed.
“These rangers face numerous challenges of walking long distances under harsh weather; they get attacked by wild animals, poachers, illegal miners, which has led to the loss of their lives.
They fall victims while protecting these forests which are given to us by God”
The Assistant Director further mentioned that, in line with the celebration, funds are raised to be given as donation to cater for the families of these fallen heroes.
“The International Rangers Federation Headquarters which is situated in America is the custodian of the fund raised by companies, individuals, groups or foundations. In the event any ranger loses his life in the course of duty, money is being sent to cater for his family. And already, two persons benefitted last year and unfortunately, we lost two members this year whose documents have been sent for processing”.
However, Idris lamented on the lack of awareness of rangers’ efforts and activities. “People do not know about the rangers because they are not captured in the media, while they work tirelessly, risking their lives to ensure our heritage is protected and conserved for prosperity”.
He therefore called on the need for enlightenment on the forestry activities, saying, Kaduna State accommodates the National park being the peak of conservation, but because awareness has not been created on its activities, many people are not aware of the significance of World celebrating the rangers day.