The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has lamented the activities of bandits at the Yankari Game Reserve and Safari, vowing that he would rather die than allow bandits to take over the tourist site.
Mohammed, who made the vow in a speech at the launching of the 2023 Tree Planting Campaign held on Thursday at the Dungal Housing Estate, Bauchi, said British investors were planning to take over the tourist centre and invest $18 million, hence, his resolution never to allow the bandits take over the place.
“Today, we are happy, we’re being recognised by the international community. Bauchi has become the next investment destination. Our biodiversity, which is Yankari, has attracted British investors that came here, discussed with us seriously and they are ready to take over Yankari to save our Fauna and Flora, to save our animals with an initial investment of $18 million of their own money and to bring security.
“We have been battling with bandits inside Yankari. I will never allow them to take over Yankari from me, under my time, no, no way! I will either die or they die. They will not be there. I am assuring you, the people of Bauchi.
“So, we will have to work, we don’t have to sleep because so many things are going on against us,” he stated.
The governor, while speaking further, lamented the activities of tree fellers across the 20 local government areas of the state. He therefore declared war on the charcoal business in the state.
He said, “Our commitment to survive as a people irrespective of climate change around us if we are doing things that are not good which is helping the enemy, the manifestation of drought, erosion, flooding, deforestation, hunger and so on are all attributed to climate change.
“Unfortunately, we are the unwilling messengers of collaborators. We have to work on our ecosystem. It is a harmonious call. It is an organism, and we are all part of the universe. The universe is devastated by our activities and we know that it is not a laughing matter, it is a fact. We appear to be overwhelmed by the activities of criminals, those who don’t want to listen, and those who disobey and cause problems for all of us.
“Our trees are being felled, charcoal business has become the order of the day. We have been arresting them every day and somehow, our neighbours have stopped but we have willing collaborators in our leaders, political leaders like you and me.
“We are here in this estate to show you that tree planting is the way to go for sustainable development. We need to come together and fight for our survival, we need to take back our environment. We need to assure our future generations that we have to live and that humanity is here to thrive.
“We have to go by legislation by persuasion and enforcement, we will not close our eyes and leave anybody no matter how highly placed they are to diversify our society and our environment.
“From today, we have declared war against charcoal business in Bauchi and those felling trees anyhow. Sometimes, as I move on the road, we’ll see people with machines felling trees and when you ask, they’ll tell you that they have been given permission by the Director of Forestry either in the state or the local government. We have to be very aggressive.”