By Bankole Wright
Edo State Government revealed plans to excavate the historic Benin Moat, which is the world’s longest man-made earthwork, and develop more than 58 other tourist sites in the state to boost earnings from the tourism sector.
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, who disclosedthis in Benin City, said part of the state’s investment potential in tourism will be unveiled at the forthcoming Alaghodaro Investment Summit.
Osemwegie-Ero said the state government has entered into discussions with the Benin Palace to get the nod of the Oba to go ahead with the project, which is expected to be carried out in partnership with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO. Noting that the state was ready to work with willing and capable investors on a number of projects, he said:
“The ministry plans to revive abandoned tourists’ sites, including Captain Philip Tomb and Oba Ovonramwen’s resting place on Ekehuan Road. “Other projects are the Ososo Hills in Akoko Edo; Crocodile Lake in Lampese in Edo North; Amazon Water Falls in Igueben (where two separate bodies of water flow parallel to each other without mixing) and the 15-minutes’ walk along the cave leading to the Somorika or Kukuruku Hills.”
He noted that the maiden Alaghodaro Investment Summit is expected to showcase some of these tourist sites so that the state can court capable hands to help in developing critical infrastructure, and expertise to grow tourism in the state.
He further explained that his ministry has a mandate to identify and document new tourist sites, and has pencilled down the Sokponba Inland Resort as a viable tourist site worth investing in.
On the plans for the Benin Moat, he said:
“Some of the efforts to recover the moat include excavation and development of green areas, relaxation spots and cable cars around the moat. This will be achieved through partnership with UNESCO. Some demolition work will be done and we are talking with the Oba to get local buy-in.”