Wednesday, February 15, 2012

mauricearchibongtravels: Register or close shop - Nigeria's apex tourism body tells hospitality outfit owners

mauricearchibongtravels: Register or close shop - Nigeria's apex tourism body tells hospitality outfit owners

Register or close shop - Nigeria's apex tourism body tells hospitality outfit owners

NTDC issues 30-day ultimatum to hotels' owners, Police lend weight to sanitize industry

The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has issued a 30-day ultimatum to proprietors of hotels, motels, guest-houses, nightclubs, restaurants and related outfits to register with the Corporation or be shut down.
Pic 1. PHOTO: NTDC Press

Additionally, the relevant entrepreneurs are expected to furnish NTDC with details of the profile of their staff, such as a worker’s nationality, for necessary documentation by the security agencies.

Pointing out that, it is a culpable offence to run a hotel or other hospitality enterprise without a signboard; the NTDC Director-General, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, 15 February 2012; added that the observance of this new directive on registration and related matters is nationwide.

The statement added that the identity of every staff in the industry was also required because there are reasons to suspect that many illegal aliens are engaged in the hospitality business in Nigeria to the detriment of qualified and Nigerians.

“We cannot afford to allow our hospitality enterprises to be used as dens for crime and criminals”, stated the NTDC chief, while noting that; in the interest of safety and security, it has become inevitable that security agencies must be furnished with the nominal roll and related inventory of every tourism enterprise, in the light of the strategic nature of the industry.

Interestingly, this statement came on the heels of a joint press conference between the NTDC and the Nigeria Police Force, where the public was reminded that, by law; Nigeria’s apex tourism body has the mandate to register all hotels and other hospitality enterprises with a view to gathering a comprehensive database for effective and necessary regulation in the industry.

Speaking at the joint news conference, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. Mohammad D. Abubakar directed all proprietors and operators of hospitality centres to register with the NTDC to avoid being prosecuted for operating illegally.

At the media event, which was witnessed by some 40 police top-brasses, including 20 commissioners, the inspector general revealed that all commissioners of police have been directed to enforce the order.

“Let me state that the Nigeria Police Force is committed to the enforcement of all laws and will work with the NTDC to ensure the enforcement of this regulation at the federal, state and local government levels”, declared the IGP; while reminding that his directive is in line with the act that established Nigeria’s apex tourism body.

In fact, Alhaji Mohammad’s directive dovetails with NTDC’s quest to develop a reliable database of all hotels operating in Nigeria. Such data bank, it stands to reason, would help various security agencies effect necessary surveillance on hotels and other tourist destinations, thus ridding such sites of criminals.

The IGP, who went on to express worry that lately some hotels, guest-houses, parks, recreational centres and other tourism facilities become sources of security concerns, pointed out that tourism facilities could be exploited or misused by characters with hostile intentions like espionage, terrorism and other unwholesome activities. Hear him: “The tourism industry is highly sensitive and cannot be developed or promoted in an environment where security is not guaranteed”.

As to what to do about one or two states that have refused NTDC’s hotel registration exercise in their domain, the IG said that ultimately, “the law would take its course”, adding that the news conference was meant to address such revelant issues.

In his response, the NTDC DG expressed special gratitude to the IG for the new wind blowing across the country. Otunba Runsewe said that this new wind was responsible for the restoration of public confidence in the Nigeria Police. Otunba Runsewe also noted that with the new IG, a new chapter has been opened in the drive towards national security and tourism development.

In his conclusion, while pleading with everyone to always furnish the police with relevant information; the NTDC DG advised hotels’ managements to always employ the services of trained security personnel among their staff as well as solicited the support of every Nigerian in the quest to rid the society of crime.

This latest move, one must point out, proves that Runsewe’s interest in the safety and security of all tourism sites endures. It could be recalled that the NTDC had similarly engaged the Police two years ago in its drive to sanitize the tourism industry, and the law backing the setting up of the NTDC “empowers it to register, classify and grade hotels and other hospitality enterprises”.

It is also worth noting that Decree 81 of 1992, which is now an act of the National Assembly, vests responsibility of hotels’ National Registration Exercise on the NTDC.

Indeed, Runsewe’s concern about safety at every tourism venue or destination is commendable because insecurity and tourism are like oil and water; they just cannot mix.

NTDC DG Runsewe and IGP Abubakar.

mauricearchibongtravels: NTDC and Seven Wonders of Nigeria

mauricearchibongtravels: NTDC and Seven Wonders of Nigeria

NTDC and Seven Wonders of Nigeria

Do you know Nigeria’s Fantabulous Septet?  

Obudu Mountain Resort, Idanre Hills, Sukur Kingdom, Kano Walls, Benin Moats, Osun Groove, National War Museum.


The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) is poised to launch a new phase in its strident resolve to market sites and destinations across Nigeria.

It could be recalled that after roughly 24 months of traversing the country, followed by series of votings; Obudu Mountain Resort, Cross River State; Idanre Hills, Ondo State; Sukur Kingdom, Adamawa State; Kano Walls, Kano State; Benin Moats, Edo State; Osun Groove, Osogbo, Osun State and National War Museum, Umuahia, Abia State; emerged the top Seven Wonders of Nigeria.

Speaking during a visit to the Tourism Village by the management team of Naija Seven Wonders project, led by Mr. Ikechi Uko; NTDC Director General, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, declared that each site among the recently unveiled Seven Wonders of Nigeria would be accorded special consideration in the renewed bid to boost tourism development in the light of each site’s unique features that led to their endorsement by voters of “Naija 7 Wonders”.

Mr. Uko, who is also the progenitor of Akwaaba, an annual African Travel Market fair held in Lagos; informed Otunba Runsewe that the essence of the project was to promote tourism in the country and instill national pride in Nigerians.

Further explaining the essence of the project on behalf of other members of the committee, Mr. Uko observed that the philosophy of the project stems from a quote by Marcel Proust which says, “The real voyage of discovery comes not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”.

He maintained that among all the destinations in Nigeria, only Obudu Ranch Resort, which has the longest cable car in Africa; boasts world class facilities. This project cordinator went on to express his wish that other tourism destinations would take a cue from Obudu Ranch.

Uko declared he was widely travelled having crisscrossed the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and visited several countries around the world, some of such trips courtesy NTDC; added that ironically, some countries with very high crime rates actually get more tourists.

Therefore, irrespective of Nigeria’s drawbacks, “tourism still has a brilliant potential, if only our destinations were repositioned properly for the international market”, Uko reasoned.

While thanking Otunba Runsewe for his support and advice in the course of executing the project, Mr. Uko revealed that initially, he feared that government might interfere in the choice of the 7 sites; but, that was not the case as the committee was allowed to do its job without distraction.

In his remark, Otunba Runsewe lauded the project team saying its efforts complement the practical-based approach to tourism development, which his NTDC administration has adopted from inception. This strategy, Otunba Runsewe expatiated, fostered the positive collaboration between NTDC and the Naija Seven Wonders project team.

The NTDC helmsman went on to add that the committee has assisted in adding value to Nigeria’s destination marketing product noting that his new strategy would be to engage state governments in the promotion of tourism destinations within their domain.

Otunba Runsewe, who also promised to reward members of the committee with certificates of honour and a special dinner after a convenient date would have been chosen, said the 7 wonders of tourism in Nigeria is a re-awakening call to further advance our tourism destinations to the world.

While informing the committee that there was still more work to be done, Runsewe urged everyone to support such noble ventures as demonstrated by the project “Naija 7 wonders”.

Prior to rounding up, Mr. Uko presented souvenirs which include documents of the committee’s job to Otunba Runsewe; while the latter “retaliated” through NTDC-branded souvenirs to members of the committee.

1. Granite Throne of Hidi of Sukur Kingdom at Sukur Cultural Landscape, Nigeria’s first UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria.

mauricearchibongtravels: Search on for relations of dying Nigerian in Cotonou

mauricearchibongtravels: Search on for relations of dying Nigerian in Cotonou

Search on for relations of dying Nigerian in Cotonou

Search on for relations of dying Nigerian in Cotonou

A Nigerian man, said to be in his mid-50s, is lying critically ill at a private hospital in Cotonou, Benin Republic. The hospital, Polyclinique de l’Amitie aka Un Bon Samaritain, stands near Cotonou’s Friendship Stadium (Stade de l’Amitie) between Vedokoh and Godomey.
Pic 1.
Although neither the name of his village nor local government area is known, examination of his admission paper to this hospital revealed the patient’s name is Mr. Clement Asukwo and that he resides in the Vedokoh neighbourhood of Benin’s economic capital.

Nurses at Polyclinique de l’Amitie said, when the man was brought in last Saturday, February 12, 2012; he could still speak, which is how they got his name. But, by the next day, Sunday, February 13, the man lapsed into a coma.

Reliable sources told mauricearchibongtravels that medics at the hospital had recommended the patient’s transfer to government-owned CENASU, a properly equipped specialist hospital, where he was sure to receive proper care; unfortunately, the inability to locate a relation to sign relevant documents for the man’s admission to CENASU has made his relocation impossible.

Since none of the man’s relations could be found, another Nigerian (names withheld), who was called to assist the patient, sought out Mr. Okezie Jonathan, a former Personal Assistant to the immediate-past President of Cotonou Chapter of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO), Chief Uko Elendu. Having been contacted, Mr. Jonathan succeeded in reaching Mr. Kufre Udofia, Chairman of Akwa Ibom/Cross River States community in Cotonou.

However, after being briefed and upon visiting the sick man in what may have turned out to be his death-bed by now; Mr. Udofia said he would not sign any paper. He said he was not sure the man was a member of his community as no such person ever turned up at the towns’ union meeting. Udofia said a search of the community’s members’ register did not reveal any Clement Asukwo and he had no way of knowing, if truly Asukwo was his clan’s man since the patient could not speak.
Pic 2.

It is possible that the fear of having a corpse with no known kith or kin as well as state of origin on one’s hands and the financial implication of funding a burial may have made Udofia wary of putting pen to paper. In fact, Udofia appeared crossed, when it came to light through contacts with the patient’s neighbours, that; Asukwo, who has been living in Cotonou for 25 years never bothered to interact with anyone from his Akwa Ibom/Cross River homestead.

Consequently, calls were made to some official of Nigerian Embassy Cotonou. But, since it was past 9pm already on that Sunday night, when the telephone conversation took place it was doubtful much could be achieved. At the end of the day, we had to leave Polyclinique de l’Amitie about 10.30pm since the patient could not be moved to CENASU. As things stand, none of his relations has been found and the man’s fate hangs in the balance.

After countless phone calls to numbers found in the patient’s handset, mauricearchibongtravels eventually spoke to one person, who claimed to know him. This contact gave her name as Mary Clement and actually addressed herself as the man’s daughter. Although she would not disclose her address, Mary said she lives in Ogun State with her nuclear family. When asked her father’s home-town and local government area in Nigeria, Mary somewhat casually revealed that she had no idea. Mary is the only child Asukwo sired, but he never told his daughter where he hailed from.

Mary currently lives in Ogun State, where her father met her Yoruba-born mother; and, said she is 23 years old. When asked the last time she saw her dad, Mary said this was in 2010. As to where they met, Mary, who spoke with Travels in fluent Yoruba, told us that it was in Cotonou, when she went to visit her father.

To ascertain the veracity of her statement, we asked her the name of the Cotonou neighbourhood, her Clement Asukwo lives. “It was at his residence in an area called Vedokoh in Cotonou”, she replied. But, when finally told of the patient’s plight; she sounded ill-perturbed.

During our latest visit to Polyclinique de l’Amitie, we found Asukwo motionless and unconcious in bed. Though still alive, his breathing was staccato. Insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed the patient’s chance of survival is dim because he has been unconcious for four days and had not had any meal since.

1. Asukwo Clement.
 2. Asukwo Clement in bed. PHOTOS: MAURICE ARCHIBONG