Religious tourism: Ikotun residents call for more attention
Some residents of Isolo, Ejigbo and Ikotun area of Lagos have called on the Lagos State government to pay greater attention to the area as, according to them, ‘this is the tourism corridor of the state.’ They said they were disappointed when all the beautification projects to improve the aesthetic of Lagos were done outside the area.
One of the residents of Isolo, Mr Keyinde Olajide said, “I was among those that were elated when the Ambode government in Lagos, as part of the activities to mark Lagos@50, embarked on massive facelift of Lagos. Iconic statues were erected at key locations like under the flyover bridge of National Stadium Surulere, Falomo in Ikoyi and other parts of Lagos were given a facelift. All these have added to the appeal of Lagos and I am sure they give positive vibe about Lagos to tourists and visitors. But why was this axis not included? Most tourist visitors on religious pilgrimage to the Synagogue Church of All Nations of Pastor T.B. Joshua pass through Isolo. So, any project sited in this axis would have positive impact on the image of the state, but none was sited here. It is really unfortunate.”
Another resident of Ikotun, Mr Sunday Obot said, “In terms of inbound tourist traffic to Lagos, no area in Lagos attracts more tourists like the Isolo-Ejigbo-Egbe-Ikotun area of Lagos. From available statistics, close to 40 per cent of tourist arrivals to Nigeria, not just Lagos, heads in this direction, to Pastor T.B. Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations.
“Yet there is no effort by the state government to include this part in this urban renewal and face-lift of the megacity. The road to Ikotun from the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway ought to be expanded to reflect the image the state wants foreign visitors and religious tourists to have.
“One would have thought that this area ought to have been the first area of concentration if tourism is being talked about because that is the tourism corridor of Lagos.
“The other areas are simply potentials that are not yet attracting the needed tourism numbers to be called a destination. So, why the neglect of this goose that lays the golden egg?”
They called on the government “to focus more attention on the axis as it is the window through which many tourist visitors have a glimpse of Lagos since they stay in the church premises while in Nigeria. The image they see to and from the airport is what they carry back to their countries.”
When the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Mr Gani Lawal was called to comment on the views expressed above, he said, “Beautification projects are the purview of the Ministry of Environment and the Lagos State Parks and Gardens.”