Mike Amachree, regarded as the father of Nigerian tourism, has criticized the high level of insecurity on the country’s highways and urged the Federal Government to combat banditry and abduction, which are hurting the tourism industry.
Amachree deemed it intolerable that inter-city mobility suffers because people are terrified of being kidnapped or killed by bandits. He claimed that the situation had grown terrifying and alarming, and that the government needed to intervene.
“Tourism in Nigeria is struggling to develop and has been seriously affected by the pandemic. Now with the current incidences of banditry and kidnapping along our major highways, it has become extremely difficult to conduct tourism business as no one, both domestic and international tourists, would like to travel under unsafe condition,” he said.
Amachree added: “What this means is that some of our tourist sites like Erin Ijesa waterfall, Plateau rock formations, Ogbunike cave, Osun grove, Badagry, Port Harcourt Leisure Park, Kano ancient walls, Tarfawa Balewa Mausoleum, Yankari Games Reserve, Obudu Mountain Resort, and so on, are witnessing very poor patronage as tourists are no longer coming.
“Our tour operation business is on the low side. Most foreign tourists are not coming in and our domestic tourism is suffering as only few people go on tour.
“Nigeria is currently a high risk country because of banditry. No foreigner would want venture into Nigeria now just for leisure. Any tourist coming into the country now requires security guards. He has to get security guards to move around.
”These are some of the issues that are affecting the business. So, it is on the low side. The truth of the matter is that tourism is a high risk business now because of the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria. As you all know, tourism is a business where people travel from one place to the other for business, leisure and education. If people can’t travel, then there is no tourism.
“I am appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to not only instruct security agencies to wipe out banditry and kidnapping, but also personally see that his instructions are carried out. The Nigerian tourism industry and practitioners are really suffering because of the unsafe highways. Our highways should be secure so that people could once again be free to move about.”