TAMING ABUSES OF RECREATIONAL PARKS

Filed in TOURISM by on January 20, 2011

Taming abuses of recreational parks
By Emeka Ezekiel
Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

One of the most attractive features of the Federal Capital Territory is the presence of recreational parks and gardens. These facilities form an integral part of the city’s master plan, and are strategically situated within the Central Business District as well as residential areas.

After working hours, and mostly during weekends, residents and fun-seekers usually throng these relaxation spots to unwind. And for residents who cannot afford to rent expensive halls in the city for social activities, recreational parks and gardens usually serve as alternative venues for such events.

Besides serving as venues for relaxation and social activities, parks and recreational centres provide means of livelihood for entrepreneurs managing the facilities. According to a manager of one of the parks in Central Business District, who identified himself as Mike, managing a recreational park is one of the most profitable businesses in the FCT.

He said, “At weekends, people usually rent the parks for wedding receptions, birthday parties, naming ceremonies, get-together-parties and other social engagements. During such events, they bring their friends and this provides opportunity to sell food and drinks.”

However, investigations reveal that there are over 200 illegal parks and gardens within the FCT, a situation that has forced the FCT administration to begin a validation of ownership of recreational parks and gardens within the city.

The Director, Recreational Services Department, FCT, Mr. Bulus Luka Achi, who confirmed the development, noted that the validation exercise would help the FCT administration to differentiate between genuine and fake recreational gardens and parks operators within the city.

He said, “The validation exercise will help us to differentiate genuine park operators from fake ones. The only way to improve on beautification of the city to meet the yearnings of the government and residents is to ensure that the operators abide strictly by the rules guiding their operations. We will ensure that only those that have legitimate permits are allowed to operate such facilities in the FCT.

“The FCT Minister is deeply concerned about the beautification of the capital city. We have commenced the verification of the parks and gardens to ascertain genuine owners of permits and to fish out illegal operators so that the genuine ones can be protected and encouraged, but you also must ensure that you abide by all the rules guiding the conduct of your business,” he said.

He added, “The verification exercise is to know who owns what. Park operators with valid permits don’t need to fear. So many people go to these parks and gardens to relax while, at the same time, people make profit by running these relaxation spots.”

In order to fast-track the process of sanitising the operation of these parks and gardens within the city, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, has inaugurated a special committee to review the activities of park operators.

The Chief Press Secretary to the minister, Mr. Sule Mohammed, who confirmed this lamented that some parks and recreational gardens in the FCT were being used as brothels.

He stated that the committee would determine the level of conformity of the existing parks with the Abuja Master Plan.

Mohammed said,”The committee will determine the number, location, and purpose for which all parks were leased out from January 2004 till date; identify approving authority for the parks leased out; and study the existing Park Rules and Regulations of 2005 as well as determine the level of compliance by all the park operators.

“Over the years, there has been outright abuse of development control guidelines in the development of the parks which poses great security risk to the residents of the territory. The FCT administration is thinking of giving the parks to corporate organisations to develop and manage in tandem with global practice, instead of individuals who turned them into beer parlours and hide out for miscreants.

“The committee will take a critical look at the operations and management of parks in the Federal Capital Territory. The committee is expected to make appropriate recommendations that will reposition parks in the FCT in line with global best practice.

“The committee will also determine the level of compliance of all the parks with basic rules and regulations as it relates to sustainable greening and cleaning of parks. The Committee will identify the activities carried out in each park and determine whether or not they are in conformity with the approved condition of lease.

According to Mohammed, the Committee is headed by the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Segun Runsewe. Other members of the committee are: the Abuja Green Society, Nigeria Horticulture Society, Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Economic Matters, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps; directors of Development Control, Monitoring and Inspection, Land Administration, Parks and Recreation, Urban and Regional Planning, Facility Management and Maintenance and Legal Drafting respectively.

However, a manager of one the recreational gardens in Zone 5, who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, said there was a cloud of uncertainty hanging over their business following the decision of the minister to restructure the operations of recreational parks and gardens in the nation’s capital.

He said, “Before the bomb blasts in Abuja, we used to make a lot of money from running the parks. But after the bomb blasts, people became increasingly afraid of hanging out in open places and this has negatively affected people’s patronage of the parks.

“Currently, our greatest worry is the recent plan by the government to restructure the activities of recreational gardens and park operators within the FCT. Our fear is that it is another strategy by the government to take food away from our table,” he said.

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  1. Patrick Jemitola says:

    WE NEED MORE RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, HERE IS ONE, IT IS CALLED BICA OR QUADRICYCLE.

    THE BICA’S CONCEPT.

    A Bica is a recreational tool that is made up of bicycles and looks like a car; with four wheels. It is driven/ridden by children, teenagers and even some adults. It is produced by Bica technical Enterprise, a registered enterprise with C.A.C.
    It can be used in:

    Amusement / Recreational Parks: In parks there are usually various kinds of fun tools fixed and mobile; a Bica in such a place would be an additional ‘thrill’, a ‘get away’, an amusement for the minds and feeling of everybody.

    The idea of a Bica is that of a recreational contraption on wheels that could be used outdoors like a sport car or ruff rider, and even in game reserves where you have to go round an appreciable distance to see all the animals. It can also be used in camp grounds.

    2.0PROJECT OBJECTIVES

    In a country of actively growing children looking for excitement, there is need to take them away from social vices like:
    Smoking
    Drinking
    Immorality
    Fighting
    Stealing, e.t.c,

    Therefore, having improved and additional recreational facilities in our schools, homes and amusement parks, is a dear need for children, who would want to flex their potentials in various ways in the name of ‘having fun’.
    The Bica is an indigenous product with foreign ideas and built with locally sourced materials; this makes it easy and cheap to build and maintain.
    CONCLUSION

    A Bica is a recreational tool of a blend of a bicycle and a car. It is able to go on rough and smooth surfaces. It is safe, reliable, durable and cheap to maintain.
    It could be used in amusement parks, schools, race tracks and residential areas by children and teenagers.
    All of its part can be sourced locally and so, maintenance and repair are easy, simple and cheap. It can come with roof or not, depending on customer request. It can also come with head lamps and tail light on request.

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