Ladigbolu, a cleric, calls attention to the predicament of the forest rangers.

Ladigbolu, a cleric, calls attention to the predicament of the forest rangers.

The Chairman, Local Advisory Committee on Old Oyo National Park, Archbishop Emeritus Ayo Ladigbolu, has decried the neglect of forest rangers by the Nigerian government.

Ladigbolu, who spoke at a ceremony organised by the management of the Old Oyo National Park to mark this year’s World Ranger Day at the weekend, observed that society in general often overlooks both the common and unique dangers rangers are exposed to while discharging their duties.

According to Ladigbolu, who was the special guest of honour at the occasion, the “failure of governments over time to recognise rangers as an integral part of the country’s security architecture is largely responsible for their neglect.

“When I got the invitation to this event, I began reflecting on the plight of rangers and their families. Locally and globally, government and the people do not recognise the dangers they are exposed to while alone in the thick forest protecting our green heritage.

“Of course, some may argue that other security agencies are also exposed to dangers. But we hardly see rangers as part of the security architecture. But they are regularly exposed to both common and other kinds of unusual attacks from poachers and wild animals.

“Therefore, there is need for the government to do more for them and provide them with more ammunition to protect themselves. I also want to urge the government to cater for the families of rangers who die in the line of duty, possibly by setting up a life insurance scheme for them.”

Ladigbolu had earlier inspected a guard of honour mounted by officers of the Park on his arrival at the venue of the ceremony held at its liaison office in Oyo.

In his remarks, Conservator of the Old Oyo National Park, CP Tesleem Adeniyi Kareem, said this year’s World Ranger Day was being celebrated belatedly “due to a recent unfortunate loss of two senior officers to the activities of illegal miners in the Park”.

However, two officers attached to the Old Oyo National Park, Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Ayemhoba Peter, and CPI Adedokun Julius Adeola, lost their lives during a gun battle with illegal miners on August 9.

Families of rangers who had died in the line of duty also witnessed the ceremony, which included presenting cash support to the family.

The ceremony was witnessed by heads of other security agencies, including the police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, and the Nigerian Immigration Service.

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