By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged the federal lawmakers representing Nasarawa state on the development of the road infrastructure leading to Farin Ruwa Waterfalls in the state.
Mohammed specifically challenged the Senators and House of Representatives members in the National Assembly from the state to dedicate the road construction as one of their constituency projects.
He said this while speaking to newsmen at the Farin Ruwa Waterfalls site in Wamba Local Government Area of the state, about 120 kms away from Lafia, the state capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the minister who was on a two-day official visit to the state was led to the waterfalls by the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe.
“I told the deputy governor while we are coming that the federal legislators from this state can make the construction of this road a constituency project.
“It is something they will be remembered for and I intend to take it upon myself to persuade all legislators from this senatorial district in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“They can approach the government to construct the road infrastructure leading to this place.
“On our part, we are going to explore the possibilities available.
“If there is any fund available from the UNWTO under the rural tourism, they can assist us either in a way of consultancy or funding,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the 15 kilometres graded road leading to the waterfalls stretched through a hilly, rocky and dusty terrain making it a difficult task to access the wonder of nature by tourists.
The 1.6 kilometres hilly footpaths leading to the bottom table of the falls equally needed reconstruction to make climbing easier for tourists.
The minister who granted the interview after climbing the 1.6km rocky footpaths also appealed to the private sector to invest in tourism infrastructure.
“What we have seen here is quite enthralling and to that extent, I think the trouble of getting here is very much worth it.
“As I have always said, one of the key to opening tourism potential anywhere in the world is infrastructure.
“It is important for us to invest in infrastructure so that this wonder of the world will be made available to everyone.
“The government cannot do it alone and I want to take the opportunity to invite the private sector to invest in building infrastructure that will lead to places like this.
“They can make use of the funds they have for corporate social responsibility and invest it in infrastructure such as roads that will lead to places like this,’’ he said.
The minister said insecurity might not be a major challenge to attracting tourists because the villagers who are the custodian of the sites would offer them protection,
On his part, the deputy governor said they had plans to turn Farin Ruwa to tourists’ haven not only for the Nasarawa people but for Nigerians, Africans and the world as a whole.
“We believe that what you have seen is quite exciting and intriguing and we believe that we need to put resources together to turn this around to a tourists’ haven.
“There are a lot to be derived here in terms of the economy, getting young ones engaged and also for relaxation,’’ he said.
Akabe said the site is suitable for Nollywood and other film actors for their productions, adding that plans were ongoing to hold a festival there very soon,
He clarified that the N3 billion road constructed by the state was to the dam near the waterfalls and not to the foot of the falls.
In the entourage of the minister were the Directors-General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Alhaji Nuhu Kangiwa and Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, Mr Folorunsho Coker.
The Special Advisers to the President attached to the minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi and Mr Williams Adeleye and a team of journalists also accompanied the minister on the visit.
Located in Wamba Local Government Area of the state, about 120km away from Lafia, Farin Ruwa Waterfalls has been described as one of its kind in Africa due to its height which is above 450 metres.
The torrential force of the gushing water from the fall which could be mistaken for white smoke earns the name Farin Ruwa in Hausa language which translates to White Water in English language.
NAN reports that the state government is planning to build a film village resorts at the site of the waterfalls to create a blend of ecotourism. (NAN)