Worried by attempt to deforest the Pandam game reserve situated in Namu in Quanpan local government council of Plateau State the Jepjan community of the local government has appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Conservator General of Nigeria and all other relevant stakeholders, including National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), and the Federal Ministry of Environment, to intervene urgently to prevent a looming ecological disaster in the area.
The Pandam game reserve was established by the defunct Benue Plateau State in 1972 and it remains one of the largest game reserves in the state today.
Pandam protects 224km of unspoiled savannah wetlands and forest and is home to many species of animals, roan antelope, shy duikers, warthogs and monkeys can all be seen living in their natural environment.
Also, hippopotamus and the rare African manatee are found in the lake Pandam too. Likewise the Patient birdwatcher will be rewarded by sighting of brilliantly coloured parrots and tauracos , noisy hornbills and secretive herons.
As Nigeria’s population grows and its land continues to be developed, many of its wild areas are being lost. Wildlife experts say Pandam Wildlife Park aims to provide a place for visitors to learn about and enjoy the natural environment and to ensure that future generations of Nigerians are able to experience for themselves their Country’s reach natural heritage.
Activities of the park include: picnicking, game viewing, bird watching, sport fishing, boating/canoeing, self guided trail and research haven.
Our correspondent gathered that this Ramser Wetland (Pandam game reserve/lake), of international importance is already been degraded and destroyed by a Chinese Company alleged to have been granted lumbering permit by the Plateau State government to harvest wetland resources contrary to Regulation 9(1) of National Environmental (Wetlands, River Banks and Lake Shores Protection) Regulations, 2009 which states that: a person shall not carry out an activity in a wetland without a permit issued by the Agency (NESREA).
It was further alleged that the Pan people were the sole occupants of the territory upon which the game reserve was established, as investigation revealed that till date, adequate compensation for the use of the land by government has not been carried out though alternative residence under resettlement scheme was done.
Jepjan community still holds to the fact that compensation under the law must be adequate to fulfil the bases for public use of communal or individual lands sought for such use by government.
“It is therefore with great opprobrium, anger and disappointment that we regretfully want to draw the attention of the general public to clandestine plans and activities being carried out with a view to deforest and privatise natural resources in Pandam Game Reserve, which has commenced in earnest in Bwall district of Quanpan LGA