Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: FG Courts Foreign Investors for Eco-Tourism Development

The Federal Government is to partner with investors that will indicate interest in developing Eco-tourism in Nigeria as well as 5-Star hotel in the Federal Capital Territory to encourage tourists among other investments in seven unit Parks across the country.

The Conservator-General of the Federation, Alhaji Haruna Abubakar said that the national parks include the Chad Basin National Park, Cross River National Park and the Gashaka Gumti National Park. Other Parks that are being considered for the upgrade are the Kamuku National Park, Kainji Lake National Park, Okomu National Park and the Old Oyo National Park.

In a message to the Nigeria/Hong Kong Business Investment Forum in Hong Kong, Abubakar made the disclosure in a presentation titled 'National Park Service: Investments Opportunities', read on his behalf by the Conservator Kainji Lake National Park, Alhaji YakubuKolo.

The helmsman assured that the National Park Service is ready to collaborate with any would_be investor to build either a three or five star hotel on the available 3.5 hectares of land along the Abuja Airport Road.

The Conservator-General explained that the available land is surrounded by a mini-park with animals from the different ecological zones. He further stressed that the vision of government in attracting tourists to the Parks is, "to develop a network of national parks that can compete favourably with other national parks elsewhere in the world.

"The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) is in the process of placing national parks under partial commercialisation of its eco-tourism facililities,". He further said the proposed Kainji Lake Shore Development Programme which he described as the largest 'man-made lake in Africa', is a beautiful sight. Abubakar also maintained that the management was willing to partner with would-be investors to develop an environmentally friendly hotel and resort for recreation.

Abubakar told the investors that the Cross River national park that comprise the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Tinapa and colourful festivals located in the rainforest of cross river state, "hold a lot of investment opportunities in the tourism sector. He said Gashaka_Gumti National Parks also had great investment opportunities for mountaineering development.

Abubakar said Okomu, Old Oyo, Kamaku and Chad Basin national parks had great potentials for partnership in the area of eco-tourism developments. Speaking during the inter-active session, The Consevator, Cross River National Park, Mr Richard Effa explained that if eco-tourism sector is developed , it would complement the existing tourism initiative of the state government.

According to him, "It is only in Cross River that gorilla-tracking is done by going into the eco-regions where gorillas could be found".

Effa described the Cross River National Park as one of the 25 globally acclaimed United Nations bio-diversity hot spots.

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