3rd February, 2011
The Lagos State Government has opposed the alleged imposition of multiple processes and regulatory requirements on tourism and hospitality establishments in the state by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
Referring to the NTDCâ€™s advertorial recently published in some national dailies that it is the â€œapex tourism body to regulate, co-ordinate and harmonise all tourism activities in Nigeria,â€ the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi, described the claim as false and unconstitutional.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Afikuyomi noted that it is the sacred responsibility of the commission to ensure that the people of the state can go about their legitimate businesses without the any fear of intimidation and extortion from anyone.
â€œLet me make it clear and for the avoidance of any doubt that the NTDC statement is false, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect. Therefore, it should be ignored by all hospitality and tourism establishments operating in Lagos State.
â€œWe will protect the industry against multiple charges and support it through infrastructural renewal and contingent support services to the industry. Let me for the purpose of further clarification state unequivocally that NTDC is an illegal body and no one should act on their behalf in Lagos State henceforth,â€ said Senator Afikuyomi.
He added that the overall constitutional authority of regulatory powers of the Federal Government of Nigeria is clearly spelt out and limited to the provision of Section 4 (2) (3) item 60 (d) part one of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The provision, according to Afikuyomi, is superior to every other legislation and it clarify and limit the activities of the NTDC or Federal Government in relation only to tourist traffic, that is, issues relating to movement of tourists, foreign travelers, visas and the rest.
In his words, â€œthis is quite sensible knowing fully well that in most states, including Lagos, less than five percent of those who patronize night clubs and bars are foreign travellers and less than 25 percent of those who patronize hotels are foreign tourists/visitors.â€
The battle between the Lagos State Government and the NTDC started some years back when the latter sponsored some advertorials, announcing its intention to engage consultants for the registration of hotels, motels, guest inns, apartments, travel agencies, tour operating outfits, resorts, cafeterias, restaurants and fast food joints among others.
And on 10 September, 2009, Senator Afikuyomi, under the directive of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, had called the attention of Senator Bello Jubril Gada, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation to the issue.
In the letter, Afikuyomi wrote that the tourism-related power presently conferred on the National Assembly does not extend to registration and classification of tourism facilities or the imposition of levies on such facilities. â€œIt is the responsibility of the State Government to register hotels, motels, guest inns, apartments, travel agencies among others.â€
Also, in a circular issued by the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Opeyemi Bamidele, he stated that apart from the usual