By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos, July 31, 2020 Abigail Olagbaye, former Miss Tourism, Nigeria, on Friday expressed dissatisfaction at some Nigerians’ quest to explore international tourist sites, leaving Nigeria’s tourism assets unpatronised.
She called on Nigerians to visit local tourist sites which she described as unique and natural.
Olagbaye made the call during the seventh edition of the Naija Seven Wonder webinar with the theme: “Where to Visit in Nigeria: Issues of Access and Security”.
She was a panelist at the event put together by Mr Ikechi Uko, Organiser, AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, to expose the nation’s hidden tourism treasures in order to spur domestic tourism growth.
Olagbaye said that Nigeria was endowed with tourist sites, listing
the Dada Pottery Centre and Unilorin Zoological Garden, both in Kwara, among sites that should be explored.
According to her, the Dada Pottery Centre is the largest traditional all-female pottery workshop in Nigeria, existing over a century ago.
She added that Ilorin was known for its large deposit of clay.
She said that it was fascinating to experience how the pots were made by women who got the clay, purified it, mixed it, shaped/molded it, dried it in the sun and finally placed it on fire for proper drying.
“In Dada Pottery Centre, you find over a hundred uneducated women, but skilled in the art of local pot making, using their bare hands.
“They are accommodating and hospitable, and the majority able to train their children in school from this trade.
” Unilorin Zoological Garden is another interesting place to be in Kwara State where you find collections of animals such as elephant, hyena, python, giraffe, horse, ostrich, camel and more.
“This is a place you can see animals in their natural eco system; it is equally open for biological research,” she said.
Another panelist, Hope Obeten, Chief Executive Officer, CalabarBlog, urged Nigerians to explore the Old Calabar Circuit which accommodated fascinating tourism attractions.
Obeten said that the attractions included the old residency museum which he described as the first aso rock of Nigeria and first office of the late Lord Luggard.
According to Obeten, the attractions also include the Slave Trade Museum, European Cementary and Mary Slessor’s Tomb.
Obeten urged state governments to build attractions around tourism sites to further excite tourists.
Rita Obidike, Managing Director, Discovery Travels and Tours, spoke on the features of the Benin Kingdom, ranging from the royalty to the ancient and unique craft of bronze casting.
Obidike noted that the Guiness Book of World Records, in 1974, described the Benin Moat, a tourist destination, as the world’s second largest man-made structure after China’s Great Wall.
“The Benin Moat was built as a defensive fortification around Benin City when the kingdom engaged in wars, it provided a defensive barrier against invaders, it is a place to be.
“The history of the Benin heroines such as Queen Iden and Emotan is another aspect to watch out for in the history of Benin kingdom,” she said.
Onuoha Nkiruka, Chief Executive Officer, Bellamaria Travels, spoke on the mystery of Oguta Lake in Imo, ‘where there is a confluence of two rivers separately coloured blue and brown but they do not mix’.
She said that other interesting sites to visit included the Pleasure Park in Port Harcourt.