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Active projectile on a mission to restore country’s museums, preserve artefacts

By Tobi Awodipe
23 September 2018   |   2:56 am
Blessed with several destinations suitable for tourism including, museums, natural sites, art galleries and beaches, Nigeria’s tourism potential still remains untapped.

Exhibits at Esie Museum

Blessed with several destinations suitable for tourism including, museums, natural sites, art galleries and beaches, Nigeria’s tourism potential still remains untapped.

According to the 2017 Annual Economic Reports of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), air travel and tourism in Nigeria contributed just 1.7 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The sectors, in cash flow, contributed a total of N1.861 billion, which ranked Nigeria 171st among 185 countries; 180th on the growth rate and 105th on the long-term growth rate index, one of the poorest numbers even for Africa.

While experts have given reasons for this, successive governments have abandoned the industry to its fate. Realising that private bodies will need to come in to save a good number of these tourist sites and develop them so they can attract actual tourists, Active Projectile Limited, a consultancy outfit represented by Adesola Oyinloye-Ndu has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Commission for Museum and Monuments (NCMM) represented by the Acting DG, Abdulkareem Kadiri in order to give museums in Nigeria a turnaround, starting with the Esie Museum, the oldest in the country, as a pilot project.

According to Oyinloye-Ndu, after when on successful completion, the facilities will be replicated in other states.Located in Esie, Kwara State, the museum was the first to be established in the country in 1945. The museum once housed over one thousand tombstone figures or images representing human beings. Sadly, thieves have stolen many of the figures as the museum suffered neglect over the years. Esie is reputed to have the largest collection of soapstone images in the world, yet it is reported to be generating a paltry sum of N10, 000.00 monthly, according to official figures released two years ago.

A typical modern day museum should have the following facilities to attract tourists, a dedicated website or box office to book visits, ease of transportation, ease of commuting tourists to and from the museum, ease of parking cars, security, a welcoming main entrance, information center, tour guides, baby caring facilities, a play area, museum shops or museum cafes/ restaurants, museum gallery and lecture hall where applicable; most of which are non-existent in Esie Museum and practically other museums in the country.

In order to bring these facilities up to date, Active Projectile will be collaborating with NCMM to upgrade existing facilities of the Esie museums including the reception area, information centre, restaurants, toilets, souvenir/ museum shop, parking lots, children play area with facilities such as trampoline, spring horse, swing, slides, basket ball hoops, hula hoops etc; children story hut, ease of commuting tourists and providing good accommodation in hotels, with a dedicated website for ease of booking tickets, transportation and accommodation and so on.

The project will involve collaboration with transport companies for shuttles, airlines and hotels for improved tourism in Nigeria. Funds for the facilities would be raised by fundraising and facilities when developed, would be managed by Active Projectile Ltd under the PPP arrangement.

Oyinloye-Ndu says the first phase of the facility upgrade of Esie comprising children play area/picnic, story telling hut and a restaurant is expected to be ready for commissioning for the Christmas festivities in December this year.It is expected that this will be a source of IGR for the community, the state and Nigeria, and an avenue for employment of locals, slowly revive the spirit of tourism and attract international recognition and appeal.