Christmas: Abuja parks record low turnout amid security threat

Millenium Park, Abuja
Millenium Park, Abuja

Operators of recreational parks within the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Thursday complained of low patronage as Nigerians celebrate this year’s Christmas.

In separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja, the park operators attributed poor patronage to the current security challenge facing the country.

A NAN correspondent who visited some of the parks reports that there was lull in activities at the facilities in spite of the festive season.

Abdulatif Olausebikan, Head, Programmes and Events, FCTA Parks and Recreation Department, told NAN that the parks had provided numerous experiences for Nigerians during festive occasions.

Mr. Olaosebikan said the security situation in the country might have contributed to the low turnout of people at the parks.

He, however, advised Nigerians to be security conscious and support the Federal Government in the fight against insurgency for peace to reign supreme in the country.

“The parks and recreation department is collaborating with the Jabi Lake users to package some events basically for the festive season.

“But it is obvious that the turnout is a bit low and the only reason for this is the security situation report that we have gotten in the country.

“I will rather advise Nigerians not to panic but only be security conscious and support the government in its fight against insurgency,” he said.

A fun seeker in the park, Atinuke Ademola, expressed shock over recent security developments in parts of the country.

Mr. Ademola, who was out to celebrate with her family, however, attributed the low turnout to paucity of money to celebrate the Christmas.

“It is obvious that many civil servants are yet to be paid their salary and if this is so, how do you expect them to come out and celebrate with their family.

“Celebration is all about money and the government should fast track a means to pay this salary as there is still more time to celebrate because the New Year is still there,” she urged.

She further pleaded with Nigerians to know where to go and ensure vigilance in their movement.

On his part, Ifeanyi Uche, a banker, told NAN that the low patronage was due to the fact that many residents had travelled out of Abuja for the Christmas.

He also said the low turnout could be attributed to the fact that most people could decide to rest at home with their family for fear of attack.

Mr. Uche, however, expressed hope that the present security threat posed by the insurgency would soon become a thing of the past if only the government would act appropriately.

Jacobs Akin, Operations Manager, Assorted Foods and Integrated Park, Jabi, ascribed he low patronage on cash crunch.

He said despite the discount given to customers during the festive period, there was still low patronage.

He added that money would have been the barrier for most families not able to come out to celebrate.
Omololu Ibitayo, a 10-year-old girl, also told NAN that she was unable to get the best of the fun because most of her friends had travelled out of Abuja.

“My friends have travelled out of Abuja and most of them are not going to come back until after the 2015 election.

“One of my friends told me that her mother insisted they were not coming back until the election is over for fear that the Boko Haram might want to strike.

“Though I am also afraid, but I believe that God will keep those of us who are still around in this town,” she said.

She, however, urged government to end to the security challenge to enable Nigerians enjoy their lives. (NAN)


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