Examining livelihood benefits derived by Gashaka Gumti National Park communities in North Eastern Nigeria
This paper assesses the benefits derived by national park communities in the study area. Questionnaires were administered in all the fourteen (14) Communities of the National Park and staff of the park, as well as focussed group discussions with some selected residents ten (10) each from the fourteen recognised park communities. A total of 720 questionnaires were administered to the residents of the park communities to assess the benefits they received after upgrading the national park, while 250 questionnaires were administered to the staff of the national park to determine the impact of NGOs activities on the communities, as well as to assess the relationship of the national park staff with the park communities and the strategies for improvement. Also interviews were conducted with the key stakeholders such as ward-heads, village-heads, youths and women leaders. Findings of the study shows that there are three major benefits received by the park communities, they are primary schools, clinics and health centres and construction of roads and culverts, as well as drilling of boreholes and wells and obtaining loans for income generation. The national park was also able to provide most of its long and short term projects to the communities. However, the relationship between farmers and pastoralists is not cordial, because during dry season when forage is often scarce, livestock moved into farms and destroy crops before harvesting .It is recommended that the working relationships between the communities and the national park be improved with a view to achieving the general objectives of conservation programmes in Nigeria.
Keywords: National Park, Benefits, Park Communities, Tourism and Working Relationships