Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Open letter to the Governor of Niger State and the Minister for Culture and Tourism

Honourable Mr. Minister,

Last Sunday, 13 July, 2008, my friends and we decided to take a picnic trip to Gurara Falls. When we arrived at the gate, we were told that Niger State had increased the entrance fee from N200 per person to N500 per person – and were shown the ticket booklet as proof. Much earlier this year, the fee had been increased from N100 to N200 per person.

We found, upon turning off the main road onto the park entrance drive, that the drive has more pot holes in it than ever – so many, in fact, that it is impossible to drive on the remaining bits of tarmac and one must drive off-road. Once we parked, we asked the caretaker and he confirmed that the entrance fee had been raised, but his salary had not. Once we parked, as we walked along and then down the trail, and along the river below the falls, we found that the entire area was littered with various forms of rubbish.

Honourable Governor, Honourable Minister, we wonder just where the proceeds from the increased fee are going. Certainly they are not going to the cleanup, maintenance, or salary of the park and its caretaker. We have decided that we are not interested in lining the pockets of the members of the government of Niger State by visiting this park again.

Although we certainly would prefer that the area be left as natural as possible – if the tarmac were removed and a more natural car path were installed, it would be a great improvement. Beyond that, we are not looking for any further “improvements” other than in the condition of the area and that of the caretaker; and in the reduction of the entrance fee.

Sincerely yours,

Roman Szlam

Expatriate US resident of Abuja


plastiQ,  1:01 pm  

The last time I was @ the Gurara waterfalls was in 1996 and it was sane and neatly kept. I'm surprised that after @ least 8 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, decadence has set in ( everything that involves being managed in Nigeria). Thanx for the call to order...Dear Governor of Niger State..please do not forget to look into the caretaker's salary...

Anonymous,  5:17 pm  

This US resident is great - speaking up where Nigerians are shutting up. Next should be an open letter to the US Government, asking why ghettoes that remind one of Lagos remain in big cities across the length and breadth of the US. Surely, surely there are enough problems in the US for him/her to solve.

Pluck the log ... what's that line from the Bible again?

Anonymous,  7:06 pm  

I wonder why ghettoes in US cities would remind one of Lagos...

Standtall 8:26 pm  

I kinda fink the increase in the entry fee is too much within a short priod of time. I do hope the money will be accounted for

Beneath my feet 10:06 pm  

What a shame that hides in plain sight

Anonymous,  11:03 pm  

@anonymous 5:17p.m. It is "Remove the log in your eye so you can see clearly to remove the speck in your brother's eye" I agree with you jare.

ababoypart2 12:33 pm  

Just got the caretaker the sack...

Anonymous,  2:33 pm  

@ anon 7:06 - go to Pittsburgh or Baltimore and shine your eye.

Anonymous,  4:23 pm  

fbwhy is it that anytime an expat makes an observation about nigeria everyone says "well ghettoes, corruption, venal elites robbing the poor, prostitution, child murderers etc exist in the US too you know!"
as if that was the highest and most eloquent form of argument.
We're not talking about the US, we're talking about Nigeria.
Its like a group of people sitting in a bath of shit, laughing at someone else for sitting in a bath of shit.
You're still not getting out of it, are you?
Although admittedly there are more important issues, and i doubt the recipients give a fart for the letter writer's opinion, the fact that instead of doing it themselves, nigerians are content to point at those who want to make a difference and say "look elsewhere first"


Anonymous,  4:56 pm  

Some of these comments show exactly why Nigeria goes backwards rather than forwards. No matter where you're from you have to be willing to take criticism if that criticism is correct! These are probably people who are living outside as well!!

anonymaus,  3:06 am  

I have to say, the letter is a perfectly justified and reasonable approach to a matter of concern to the writer.

Elsewhere in the "developed world", this is the way things are looked at and corrected, it's called customer service. The letter was a constructive one, offering suggestions as to how some of the problems could be improved. Even if the rehabilitation of the road maybe considered excessive, the removal of litter is the least that could be done.

The reaction of some of those who took umbrage at the mention of dissatisfaction with a poor service that is slated as being a tourist attraction, is unnecessary, over the top and nasty. It is attitudes like that will leave the much vaunted tourist industry floating dead in the water.

I also would like to agree with anonymous @ 4.23 pm, and anonymous @ 4.56 pm.

anonymaus,  10:52 am  

It seems that the promoters of tourism in Niger state had better start with the basics.

Check out this story:

The letter to the state governor, makes all this idealism relating to tourism in Niger state nothing but a sad joke.

Anonymous,  5:59 am  

yes to Baltimore and pittsburgh and also east st louis. then head out to appalachia for some real bush poverty - no electricity, water, roofs, etc. people inbreeding for years as well

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