• Friday, May 24, 2024
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Attah decries non-development of tourism sector in Akwa Ibom

Attah decries non-development of tourism sector in Akwa Ibom

The former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Obong Victor Attah has expressed displeasure over the lack of development in the tourism sector of the state’s economy.

Attah who was specific about the poor state of Ibom Plaza, Unity Park, and Tropicana complex, major tourism attractions in Uyo, the state capital described their current state as worrisome.

The former governor said that the purpose of constructing Ibom plaza, meant to decongest traffic around the town centre and serve as a relaxation spot for residents has been defeated because the government has not been able to control illegal activities there.

“The concept for the construction of the plaza was to solve traffic congestion around the circus, control street trading around the plaza, and create social and relaxation centre for residents.

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“So in the aspect of traffic, it has not failed although commercial activities are now being conducted along the walkways, in the aspect of commercial and social it has completely failed because you see people selling things outside the open market provided within the plaza.

“The place is no longer being maintained and I hear now that criminals have taken over the place and that’s why I said the plaza has failed in the social and commercial aspects.”

The plaza has now been taken over by traders who display their goods and wares in the open spaces with many of the conveniences not functioning.

On Unity Park, Attah explained that the project was conceptualized to serve as a major leisure arena especially for children and youths in addition to accommodating the Ibibio Cultural Museum but expressed dismay at the lack of government interest in putting the arena to proper use.

“I won’t say that Unity Park has failed but it has not been developed. The concept was to create an open place with relaxation facilities where families can come together to relax. We need to have such a facility and maintain it.

“I was in Nairobi sometimes and I saw open places where people came to even have their lunch and I said to myself, these are Africans and we can have this kind of facility too for ourselves,” he said.

He regretted that the theme park and other leisure facilities at the Ibom Tropicana entertainment centre have not been put into use more than six years after they were built calling on the state government to do something urgent to readdress this.

The park, covering a large land area was initially occupied by private leisure concerns but were asked to vacate the area by the state government for devolvement three years ago.

Regrettably, nothing has been done to develop the area since t except for the government-sponsored annual end-of-year cultural programme which has always been an attraction to residents especially children and families, denied a proper relaxation and leisure centre in the state capital.

The state commissioner for culture and tourism Orman Essien could not be reached for his reactions.