The Ministerial Panel of Enquiry set up to look into the affairs of Imo Zoological Garden and Wild Life Park, Nekede has affirmed that all the three lions at the zoo are hale and hearty.
The panel made the submission in its report submitted to the state Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mazi Uche Ohia.
The panel however recommended that government should engage the services of a resident veterinary doctor for the zoo and streamline the administrative practices and procedures at the zoo.
The panel indicted the management of the zoo for breaching administrative practices and procedures up to the time the enquiry was started.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the panel, James Nduji, who was represented by the Secretary, Obinna Ojiaka, reiterated that a report carried in a national newspaper about the zoo was false.
He said the panel interacted with the staff of the zoo, made on-the-spot observations, and studied documents in the course of its assignment.
He said, “We discovered the zoo has no accurate record of animals; there was no death of any lion, the lions are roaring strong and healthy.
“The zoo is badly run in terms of administration. It has no veterinary doctor. The death of pigs is linked to the infestation of swine flu and the disease affected other farms around the location of the zoo.
“Other recorded deaths were either from natural causes especially due to age or as a result of fight among the animals over territory”.
Ojiaka thereafter submitted three copies of the main report and a copy of the annexures, expressing the hope that the report would help government “put the zoo in proper shape”.
Receiving the report, the Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mazi Uche Ohia, promised that government would study the report carefully, and thanked the members of the panel for the job.
He assured that government would remain committed to strict adherence to rules and proper administrative procedures to engender transparency and corporate governance to make the zoo viable.
Recall that a Ministerial Panel of Enquiry into the affairs of Imo State Zoo & Wildlife Park, Nekede, was set up on November 16, 2021, to among other things look into the reported neglect of lions and/or any other animals in the zoo and adherence or otherwise to the administrative structure and procedures in the management of the zoo.
Its terms of reference also included carrying out animal population analysis; post-mortem report of all animal casualties in the zoo; and to make recommendations based on its findings.
The panel was headed by James Nduji, Head of Administration & Finance in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.