Attah decries poor state of tourist centres in Akwa Ibom
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has expressed displeasure over the state government’s nonchalant attitude towards tourism and tourist centres in the state.
Attah, who specifically mentioned the poor state of Ibom Plaza, Unity Park and Tropicana Complex in Uyo, described their current state as appalling and worrisome.
He said the purpose of building the Ibom Plaza, which was meant to decongest traffic around Uyo and serve as a relaxation centre for residents, has failed because government failed to control illegal activities at the facility.
“The idea of building the plaza was to ease traffic congestion around the city, control street trading around the plaza and create social and relaxation centre for residents.
“However, in the aspect of traffic, it has not failed, although commercial activities are now going on along the walkways, but in the area of commercial and social activities, it has failed because people now sell things outside the open market provided within the plaza.
“The place is no longer maintained and I hear criminals have now taken over the place and that is why I said the plaza has failed in the social and commercial aspects,” he stated.
The Guardian learnt that the plaza has now become a meeting point for hoodlums, who have rendered the area insecure for traders and passers-by, especially at night, while there were reports last week that toilets in the complex have been converted to ‘short time’ rooms.
On the Unity Park, Attah explained that the project was conceived to serve as a major leisure arena, especially for children and youths in addition to accommodating the Ibibio Cultural Meseum, but expressed disappointment over government’s lack of interest in putting the arena to proper use.
“I won’t say the Unity Park has failed, but it has not been developed. The idea was to create an open place with relaxation facilities where families can come together to relax. We need to have such a facility properly maintained.
“I was in Nairobi, Kenya sometime ago and I saw open places where people came to even have their lunch and I said, these are Africans and we can have this kind of facility for ourselves too,” he said.
He lamented that other leisure facilities at the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre have not been functioning for over six years after they were built and charged the state government to do something urgent to address the situation.
When contacted for his comments on the issue, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Orman Esin, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to his mobile telephone.