Home Feature Sad tale of 37-year-old uncompleted Suleja hotel

Sad tale of 37-year-old uncompleted Suleja hotel

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The Suleja International Hotel at the foot of the famous Zuma Rock along the Abuja-Kaduna road has been left to rot for over 35 years.

Built in 1981 by the Niger State government, Daily Trust reports that Suleja International Hotel was planned as a five-star hotel, equivalent to Transcorp Hotel, Abuja.

The project was conceived when the idea to relocate Nigeria’s capital city from Lagos to Abuja was contemplated and federal parastatals were located in Suleja emirate then.

It was based on these considerations that the Suleja International Hotel project was embarked upon not only as a five-star hotel, but also a tourist centre because of its strategic location, close to the spectacular Zuma Rock.

But the project has not come to fruition as work on the structures has been abandoned for decades.

Our reporter who visited the hotel project site recently gathered from residents that the property has become a “ghost building” where all sorts of atrocities such as killings and rape take place. It also serves as hideout for criminals.

Some believe that the building is haunted due to the mysterious stories told about the Zuma Rock and and that it was main reason the building has suffered neglect from the government of Niger State.

The Chief Tourism Officer of the Niger State Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Alhaji Lawal Shehu acknowledged that the hotel has suffered set back.

He said a developer was called to take over the project three years ago but that he was asked to stop by the state government after which he presented bills on his expenditure on the project.

“Niger State government wasn’t comfortable with the bill and what the government did was to engage a private valuer to carry out a valuation of the property.

“The last administration set up a committee to assess the two valuations and also invited the developer, unfortunately he did not show up.

“When the present government came in, they were fully briefed about the situation. They also made attempt by inviting the same developer for discussion,” he said.

When asked the way forward, he said the Niger State government was ready to invite the last developer, known as Baba Lakin who is owner of Hotel Services Development Limited based in Lagos.

“If we are to pay him off, we do that so that his hands will be off that project and so that we can know what to do next,” he said.

When asked how soon the invitation will come, the chief tourism officer said within three-four weeks, as the state government was very interested in the revival of the project.

He said initially, the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) was also among the shareholders of the hotel but that when the developer came in, he bought all other shares of the project, adding that Niger State controls only 20 percent of the shares of the project presently.

“The developer has 60 percent, Niger State has 20, while 20 is left unsubscribed for any interested buyer.

“But the most important thing here is to resolve the issue surrounding the project so that we can get it completely back to the ownership of Niger State government and know the way forward.

“The place is harbouring all sorts of evil acts. I could remember vividly sometime ago, some corpses were recovered in that building because it has been abandoned for long.

“Criminals now see it as their hideout and where they commit their atrocities.

“We are not happy about it because they have vandalised the widows and doors. It is costing government a lot,” Shehu said.

 

 

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