How bad roads, checkpoints hinder tourism activities in Badagry
The Chairman, Badagry Local Council of Lagos State, Segun Onilude, has called on relevant authorities to come to their aid with regards to fixing bad roads and dismantling on multiple checkpoints that hinder development of Badagry as tourism destination.
Onilude, who stated this in a recent interview, said, “No businessman in his right senses would want to do business in these conditions.”
Badagry, which he said has the potential to be great, especially in the area of tourism, lacks the infrastructure to support what is on the ground. According him, the area needs facilities that would support the efforts to drive tourism in Lagos State.
Onilude wondered why Badagry, an ancient town and often referred to as the cradle of civilisation with western education and Christianity first in Nigeria, has a lot of natural endowments such as islands, beaches, first storey building in the country, Point of No Return (where merchants then assembled slaves before moving them to Europe), yet all these have not reflected structurally in terms of advancements in the community.
To him, “historically and talking about tourism, especially in Lagos State, Badagry is the home of tourism. And that is why, even good as we have all these things, we should be the Jerusalem of Nigeria. If we are not Jerusalem of Nigeria, we should be Mecca of Lagos States.”
The council chairman observed that when you tell people to come to Badagry, the first thing that comes to their mind is the poor state of roads.
“That’s why we always call on the state because fixing roads cost a lot of money. And when you talk about roads that would be about five, six to 10 kilometers that means it involves a lot of money. And maybe when the state would come to our rescue in that, it would hasten the development of that area.
“A lot of people want to come and site industries, hotels, but these our roads give a lot of setbacks; this is an international road linking most West African countries. If you travel on road from Ghana to … I’ve had people saying that from Ghana to Togo, to Benin Republic, there’s no pothole,” he noted.
Onilude regretted the presence of multiple checkpoints (police, customs, immigration, and border patrol), who are taking advantage of this deplorable state of the roads to set up ‘tollgates.’
“Within a kilometer, you see about three checkpoints. No matter the size of your vehicle, you must part with either N200 to N500. When you are on the road from Agbara to Seme, you will see about 70 roadblocks, checkpoints; it’s discouraging.”
He continued: “From grapevine that I heard, they’ve seen that from Agbara to Seme and Owode, we have about 92 checkpoints in a distance that is not up to thirty kilometers. What were they looking for,” he quizzed.
However, Onilude informed that, “We shouldn’t wait until these road things are fixed before we start thinking of what to do. Bad as the situation of the road is, we have to make the best out of it; we should start thinking of something better.”
When asked for his message to the tour operators, travel agencies, especially once the COVID-19 is off the ground and the challenges already facing the tourism industry, he advised that stakeholders should make themselves available whenever invited to proffer solutions to the numerous challenges confronting them.
“My advice to them is when they are invited, which would not be too long, everybody should endeavour to be available so that we rob minds together and see what we can fix on our own; it’s not everything that government must fix for us. What are the things we can fix on our own? What are the things we are doing that are detrimental to the development of industries? So, we try to correct them. From that place, maybe we would have a voice; a louder voice to reach out to the higher authority to come to our aid.
“Maybe when we develop a paper from that sitting and we impress it on the state government too, they would see the need to quickly come to our support and help in developing this industry. I’m sure even the state stands to gain more”, Onilude said.
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