Insecurity & Crime

Hoteliers bemoan spate of insecurity in Imo

By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri

Nigeria Hotel Association, NHA, Imo State Chapter has decried the unabating wave of killing, kidnapping and banditry ravaging the state and called on Governor Hope Uzodimma to salvage the ugly situation.

In a welcome address presented at the inauguration of the Imo chapter of NHA, held at Rockview Hotel, Owerri, the state chairman, Chima Chukwunyere, noted that deteriorating security situation in the state has negatively affected the business environment for hotels and the hospitality industry in general.

He lamented that the industry which is the second largest employer of labour only next to the state government and contributes immeasurably to the internal revenue generation of the state is now been threatened.

He warned that if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the menace of banditry, the hitherto booming hospitality industry which placed Imo as the tourism hub of the nation might be forced into extinction.

Chukwunyere, who is also the managing director of Domino Paramount Hotel, Owerri noted with dismay that “while some of the hotels are currently on lease and outright sales, others have shut down as a result of insecurity, erratic power supply and high cost of diesel which have made it difficult for the industry to remain afloat in business.”

He however commended Governor Hope Uzodimma for his prompt intervention and stoppage of the illegal activities of revenue consultants/touts who he said connived with some erring personnel of the judiciary to garnishee their accounts illegally and equally threatened to shut down all hotels in the state.

He appealed to the Governor to engage captains of the hotel industry in the state in a round table discussion, to enable them brainstorm on ways to remedy and revive the industry already lying comatose.

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Performing the inauguration, the national chairman of NHA, HRH Eze Patrick Anyanwu assured that the National body would do its best to protect the interest of the members of the association and equally stand on their behalf against illegal tax and levies by the state government.

The monarch advised the hotel owners and directors to ensure regular payment of their dues and levies, adding that every hotel in the state should be registered in the National body of the Association to enjoy its benefits.

Also speaking at the occasion, Hon. Uche Ohia, the State Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, described hotels as the soul of the hospitality industry in the state pointing out that any threat to the industry would inevitably lead to the collapse of the state economy.

Ohia emphasized that the government would ever remain committed and resolute in its determination to provide a conducive environment for the operation, promotion and sustenance of the hotel industry in the state and had taken steps to create community Tourism which would enable communities in the state to partner with the government.

He applauded the association for appreciating the efforts of Governor Uzodimma to encourage their members to remain in business and gave an assurance that this would be sustained.

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