By Kaka Mohammed Misau
The Ag. General Manager of Yankari Game reserve, Alhaji Mohammed Ladan has disclosed that at the time he took over, there were no functional vehicles and electricity to boost the activities of the historical game reserve.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Baushe Daily Times in his office, Ladan said he met a lot of challenges on ground when he settled down as the General Manager of the reserve.
Ladan who started working with the Yankari game reserve in 1994 when it was still called National Park service as a park ranger said, “I met a lot of challenges on ground. At the time I took over, there were no vehicles, no functional generator and I came at a time the reserve was disconnected from the national grid by the JED Plc”.
He said that the reserve was operating on unserviceable electricity generators before he immediately reconnected the reserve to the national grid to get electricity supply.
“Apart from that, at the time I came in, there was only one game viewing vehicle that was working and was not even too good, it has to be pushed sometimes before it starts. But I think you can bear me witness that when you came here you saw many game viewing vehicles moving around, we have three sound vehicles”, the Ag. GM further said.
According to him, he is working tirelessly to make sure that the other game viewing vehicle that has been grounded for long before he took over is repaired to make them four, adding that the 500KVA capacity generators that were brought in 2006 have not been serviced very well.
“But when I came, I ensured that they have been properly serviced as at when due, and we have witnessed reduction in fuel consumption”, Alhaji Ladan noted.
He said that he has also ensured that the Reserve’s website that houses gmail and other social media platforms that were inactive have been reactivated and are now active 24hrs.
“We have upgraded our platforms, you can find us on Facebook, it is very active, our Twitter handle and Instagram, all are now active, these are some of the achievements I have recorded so far”, Alhaji Ladan explained.
He said at the time he assumed office there was no laundering service in Yankari but has now provided two machines and have attached them with generator so they can work 24 hrs non stop.
The Ag. GM further noted that in an effort to make the reserve more attractive, he has upgraded the guests accommodation, refurbished the Wikki warm spring as well as the game viewing tracks through direct labour to cut spendings.
“I have opened up some of the places up to 24 kilometers. It was only seven kilometres and I increased it to 24 kilometers for our visitors to have adequate viewing opportunity in the reserve. Anyone who has been to Yankari knew about Guruntu bridge and Muazu Lamido, now I have opened up those places, you can move around smoothly”, he said.
Alhaji Ladan noted that the historical and archeological sites in Yankari game reserve such as the “Dukkey wells where people live there in the ancient times, these are wells, about 136 of them that they are interconnected, the place used to be inaccessible because of grasses, I have opened them up and visitors do go there now, places like an early man-made caves known as Marshal caves, I have renovated them, I am currently working on Anpara, Maccido wall, Tungan Dutsi which has zigzag line stones, I am working on them”.
The Ag. GM decried that the reserve’s tourists inflow were hit by the yellow fever epidemic and subsequently, COVID-19 pandemic, adding it has slowed down his initial plans to revamp the reserve.
He informed that fumigation exercise have been carried out, adding that it is to be done after every six months.
Alhaji Ladan who stated that the kitchen and other units of the game reserve which were not good looking at the time he took over have been put into proper shape, adding that sports facilities have also been fixed.
He hinted that the reserve under his care is planning to open booking offices in three Nigerian International Airports that include those of Lagos, Abuja and Kano.