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Nigerian hunters call on Tinubu to approve Forest Security Service bill

The signing of the bill would boost and empower the service to do more and contribute to the fight against criminality in Nigeria.

Nigerian hunters [Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre]

The Commander General (CG) of NHFSS, Dr Joshua Osatimehin, made the call during the training of over 375 officers of the service by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in Abuja.

Osatimehin said the signing of the bill would boost and empower the service to do more and contribute to the fight against criminality in Nigeria. According to him, in the South-South, men of NHFSS are doing fantastically well in the fight against oil bunkering, and oil theft and saving money for the Federal Government.

He called for the financing of the activities of hunters and forest security services, adding that the personnel had been working voluntarily.

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"We are attacking the bandits because nobody knows the forest more than the hunters.

"We have been saying this over and over, that Nigerian hunters and forest security is the missing link in Nigeria’s security architecture,’’ he said.

Osatimehin said the training workshop was designed to enhance the capacity of its operatives in their quest to actively fight criminals in the forests. He added that the training would go a long way in enhancing the productivity of NHFSS personnel towards strengthening the security of lives and property in forests across the country.

The CG said that the capacity workshop was also to enable the hunters to contribute to the realisation of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda in the area of security.

He thanked the Commandant-General of the NSCDC for giving them the platform to have well-trained personnel and to boost their capacity to deliver on their mandates.

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“NSCDC has over the years being rendering necessary security training to NHFSS to enable the service be abreast with current strategies on intelligence gathering, security tips, code of conduct among others in line with the best international security standard.

"This is geared towards safeguarding the country from crimes and criminality, especially in the ungoverned space which is the forests nationwide.

"The training has been impactful and we have learnt a lot in the last couple of days and it is a good effort in the right direction.

"This is one way to boost the confidence of the citizens that the Nigerian hunters and forest security personnel are well trained and are ready to take up the assignment of protecting the forest,’’ he added.

The NHFSS CG commended Tinubu for the successes so far recorded in the fight against insecurity in the last one year. The Deputy Commander General (DCG), Technical Services, Dr John Metchie, said the training was a train-the-trainer initiative to enable the senior officers to pass the same down to the local level.

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Metchie said the organisation was determined to bring everybody up to standard, to the same level as the NSCDC, Police, Army and other security services.

He said the organisation had over the years, been collaborating with all the security agencies to get its personnel adequately trained.

"We have also collaborated with the Police Department of Training and Development on managing security and security challenges within the forested region.

"We have also effectively collaborated with the Department of State Security Service on intelligent gathering within forested regions.

"And now with the NSCDC being one of the lead agencies in Nigeria in terms of internal security awareness campaign and the mandate of securing the critical infrastructure.

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"So, part of their job is what we are also doing within the forest because pipelines pass through the forest and mineral resources are also embedded within the forest.

"So we are here to learn from them being one of the parenting bodies of security,’’ he stated.

Metchie further said that the NHFSS had been clamouring for presidential assent to its bill to be able to prove to the public and the federal government that they were up to the task.

"We want Mr President to give official assent to empower our officers the command structures to work with the constituted authority to curb crimes and criminality within the forest.

"You will agree with me that forest is the treasure base of any country, and 80% of our mineral resources are located within the forested region and bandits and other criminal elements have taken over this forest”, he noted.

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