Sunday, December 2, 2007

TOURISM CENTRES IN NIGER STATE

Niger State is rich in tourism centres. There are numerous tourist attraction sites in the State such as the following:
A. GURARA WATER FALLS (BONU VILLAGE)
This wonderful water falls which is best described as Nigeria’s Premier Falls is located at kilometre 76 along Minna-Suleja road. From Suleja to the junction is about 45 kms, while from the junction to the Falls is about 2 km.
Gurara Falls got its name from Village bordering the river and was used for sacrifices by the Gwaris of Bonu in Gawu District. The sacrificial activities started to diminish when some Europeans discovered the place and found it suitable for recreational activities on weekends. (They decided to develop the place into a reputable tourist resort).
Today, Gurara falls is one of the nation’s greatest potential holiday resorts. A tarred road leads to the falls where there are a mini bar and a permanent pavilion which is erected at a strategic point thus offering to tourists the best view of the Falls while sitting and relaxing.
The Falls is at its peak during the month of April to October while it is lowest in January to March.
B. ZUMA ROCK
Located along Kaduna – Abuja express way, is beautiful, giant of a rock used for defensive purpose by the Gwari natives against invading neighbouring tribes during the inter-tribal wars. The rock is believed to possess certain power which rendered enemies powerless and provided the natives with a good hiding place. As the tourist gets closer, a human like face becomes visible with engravings representing the eye sockets, the nose and the mouth on the side of the rock that faces the Abuja – Kaduna express road.
Zuma Rock represents a beautiful and unique natural work of rock formation. If offers a good environment for picnicking and relaxation. A Five Star Hotel, Zuma Rock Resort International Limited is being constructed near the rock.
C. THE MOVING ROCK
This rock is situated at the western part of Gwagwade village in Auna district. Evidences have shown that when the rock wanted to move, a loud sound was normally heard throughout the village at night and the following morning, the rock would no longer be found. This rock was said to have been moving at unspecified periods. This movement according to the inhabitants, the rock was said to possess two husbands…one at Gwagwade village in Niger State and another at Kinkya in Ngaski district of Yauri Local Government, Kebbi State.
Presently, the rock is located at Kinkya in Kebbi State.
D. SOJE (HUT) AT FOGBE
The Soje Hut was mysteriously and solely built overnight by one man called Ele. Ele, a non-indigene of the area. The villagers saw the completed building the following morning without roof. However, the villagers decided to roof it to extend its life span.
The myth surrounding this Hut which is about 10 meters in diameter can accommodate a number of people no matter the number, there will still be space to accommodate more people, especially when the crowd argue among themselves on approaching it for its inability to contain them. It is prohibited for the Emir of the area to sight the Hut or else he dies.
E. BINA FOOTPRINTS
These footprints could be seen on the hill top in Bina village near Muye some kilometers east of Lapai. The footprints also called (Dauda Woyaba) footprints are also believed to be that of Dabo who started his journey from Bina, later went to Gulu, performed his ablution and built his mosque, stayed for some times before leaving for Kano. The footprints are still visible on the rock at Bina hilltop.
F. BARO EMPIRE HILL
Baro is a town about 54 kilometres away from Agaie town; the headquarters of Agaie Local Government Area. ‘Baro Empire Hill’ is a flat-topped hill which commands a magnificent view across River Niger. At the top of the hill, there are remains of Lord Lugard’s first headquarters and an H.F Radio Station used by him. Also, there is a track leading to the top of the hill for vehicles like Jeeps and LandRovers to pass through. While on top of the hill tourists can get the best view of the ancient “Baro Post” used in the colonial days.
G. BARO PORT
Baro port was used in colonial days to transport goods by ship to foreign countries through River Niger and from overseas to Nigeria. A railway line terminus (Minna-Baro) exists where goods were transported from the hinterland to the port for export and vice versa. The warehouse where goods were stored can still be seen at the port.
H. LORD LUGARD COLONIAL RUINS AT ZUNGERU
Lord Lugard’s Colonial Secretariat, (before moving to Kaduna) is located at Zungeru. From this secretariat, Lugard amalgamated the Northern and the Southern parts of Nigeria. Therefore Zungeru conveniently served as Nigeria’s first capital.
Also located at Zungeru, is a cemetery consisting of about one hundred graves of white colonial aides to Lord Lugard. An example is the grave of Dr. A. A. Smith, the founder of Scouts and West African Frontier Forces, who died on 4th January, 1903.
I. NAGWAMATSE WELL (near Kontagora)
This well is said to have been dug by the legendary Nagwamatse during the Jihad. It has been related that when he was resting under a tree, he struck the ground with his sword in order to get water for ablution in preparation to perform his prayers. The water spot that resulted from that action still exists as a well some kilometres away from Kontagora.
J. FIRST RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVE ENGINE (WUSHISHI TRAMWAY ENGINE NO. 1)
Railway construction first began in 1889 with the construction of Lagos-Abeokuta line. By 1901, the line was extended to Ibadan and by 1908 the line reached Jebba.
The capital of the then Northern Nigeria was Zungeru and the nearest terminal river port for the supply of urgently needed building and other necessary materials was Wushishi. It was therefore decided to link Zungeru with Wushishi by means of steam tramway of 2 feet 6 inches gauge. The tramway was opened in 1901 and operated successfully for many years.
The first locomotive to run the steam tramway has been preserved and it stands under a canopy on the Railway platform at Minna station. This preserved locomotive was the first steam engine to work in Northern Nigeria. It was 0-6-07½ x 12” two cylinder 2.6” gauge locomotive built by Hunslet Engine Company, England and delivered to Nigeria on the 2nd of August, 1901.
The engine ran on the 12” Wushishi-Zungeru-Barijuko Tramway and hauled the first train built to avoid a dangerous reach of water on the Kaduna river in order that the then capital of Zungeru could be better placed.
Some other tourism attractions in the State
The Niger State Tourism Corporation coordinates all tourism activities in the State. Other tourism attractions in the State includes the Gani Cultural Festival Kutigi, Kainji Lake National Parks and “Dutse Mai Nono”, meaning 'hill with breast'. The corporation has motels in the major towns of the State for comfortable accommodation, meals and drinks.

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