by ALLWELL OKPI
Hotel owners and operators have kicked against the recent directive by the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, which ordered all hospitality centres in the country to register with the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation.
Abubakar gave the order in February at a joint press conference by him and the Director-General of NTDC, Olusegun Runsewe.
He said the proprietors and operators of hospitality centres that failed to comply would be deemed to be operating illegally and liable to prosecution.
The IG stated that the police were committed to enforcing the directive in order to help the NTDC develop a reliable database of all hotels operating in the country, which is expected to help security agencies monitor hotels and other tourist destinations in the bid to rid them of criminals.
However, the Nigeria Hotel Association, an umbrella body of hoteliers, told SUNDAY PUNCH that it was the function of state governments to register hotels, not NTDC or any other agency of the Federal Government.
According to the National Coordinator of the NHA, Lanre Awoseyin, although it is necessary to improve security around hotels and tourist centres, the association does not subscribe to registering with NTDC because it has registered with state governments.
“We are not saying that the police should not try to monitor hotels and stop criminals but we are saying that it should be done at the state level.
“What the NTDC is doing is not good. They are going about using police to harass our members and I know what they are after is money. Once they register all the hotels and collect money from them, that will be the end. So we believe they are interfering with the function of state governments,” he said.
Awoseyin added that the activities of Boko Haram in the North had adversely affected patronage of hotels in the region and that the association had instructed its members to ensure proper documentation of all guests in order to assist security agents.
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