Business is booming.

Abuja’s forgotten tourism plan

By Umar Shuaib

One of the attractive features of the Gwagwa plains that drew the attention of the Capital City planners to choose it for the location of the City within the FCT, was its undulating landscape.

Yet, other identified landscapes with potential to making the undulating City more attractive are the Bobo plains located close to the City site and earmarked for tourism by the City planners. Unfortunately, it appears there is no interest on the implementation of the tourism proposal for the City.

In the city master plan, facilities are recommended appropriate to the scale of the FCT in general and the capital city in particular. The Bobo plains is an entirely enclosed valley of about 80,000 hectares, comprising a discrete watershed area, sparsely populated and is not penetrated deeply by roads.

The opportunity exists to make a neatly environmentally, self-contained game reserve national park. It is of sufficient size and isolation to allow the propagation of the mammals which once existed in profusion in Nigeria, the unique opportunity lies within a relatively short distance of the capital city.

The combination of the new city and National Game Park adjacent to one another will create a locational situation in West Africa, comparing favourably with that of Nairobi and its adjoining National Park in East Africa. With such a wide variety of habitats and topography within the Bobo plains complex of the FCT, there is rich and varied fauna.

Experience in Kenya, Tanzania and Ugandan parks indicates that tourists spend the majority of their game viewing time seeking the “big six”; lion, cheetah, elephant, rhino, buffalo and giraffe. A number of these species as well as others sought by the wildlife-viewing tourists have been exterminated locally or restricted to few areas. The Bobo plains has the potentials for exiting game viewing, and is desirable for it to be developed with the view to re-introducing some of these species into suitable habitat within the plains.

Wildlife tourism is a major producer of revenue to some nations and provinces within nations. When large numbers of international tourists are involved, it is a significant source of foreign exchange.

National parks and other strictly protected tracts of habitat are the primary focus of international wildlife tourism. If the park is to have long time local support, it must have local value as cultural or natural heritage, as an education resource, as a recreational resource or as a direct economic resource.

A nation the size of Nigeria could well have more wildlife reserves and parks. Several East African nations have between 5 and 10 percent of their total land area set aside in protected parks, game reserves and conservative units. The Bobo plains would be a suitable addition to the Nigerian system of park and reserves.

Apart from the Bobo plains, the Abuja master plan recommended two other areas as national monuments/wilderness protection areas in the immediate vicinity of the capital city – The Zuma Hills area, the escarpments of the Bwari-Aso Hills, the Zangon-Kuku Hills and the hills bounding the eastern and south eastern areas of the FCT. All have unique and superb inselberg outcroppings.

As major economic force in the world today tourism is increasingly recognized as driving force both for creating job opportunities, preserving national assets and cultural heritage.

Hence, it becomes one of the strategies being used to facilitate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal in many countries. Its advantages lie in its employment creating potentials and the challenges it presents for the enhancement of the quality of the environment.

Also, as the world’s biggest employer of labour, it is said to be the world’s prime economic force today because it circulates more money and cause more investments and social contacts than any other economic factor.

According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism is one of the top five exports for over 80 percent of countries worldwide. The UNWTO, in June 2008 revealed that, international tourist arrivals reached 903 million and international tourist receipts grew to US $856 billion in 2007, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 5.6% in 2006. There is no doubt that, with our tourism potentials we are either not aware, or unmindful of the fact that we are sitting on gold untapped.

The Tourism Development Decree No. 81 of 1992 empowers the establishment of State Tourism Boards, and in turn made possible the establishment of the Abuja Tourism Development Board.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of attention on the implementation of this beautiful proposal, the Bobo plain as the potential tourism hub appears to be eaten up by mass housing development. As it is, it is not known whether the proposal will see the light of the day.


Quality journalism costs money. Today, we’re asking that you support us to do more. Support our work by sending in your donations.

The donation can be made directly into NatureNews Account below

Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria


NatureNews Online

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Footer Image