Ahead of the forthcoming Alaghodaro Investment Summit, in Edo State, the state government has promised to entered into discussions with the Benin Palace to excavate the historic Benin Moat.
This is even as the government has disclosed that it will develop more than 58 other tourist sites in the state to boost earnings from the tourism sector and to boost the investment potential in tourism.
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, disclosed this weekend, during a chat with journalists, at the Government House, Benin City.
He 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.
He disclosed that the excavation of the Benin Moat, which is the world’s longest manmade earthwork, is expected to be carried out in partnership with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
“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 the partnership with UNESCO. Some demolition work will be done and we are talking with the Oba to get local buy-in.
“There are plans to hold international exhibitions; remodel the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre; reactivate 58 tourist sites in the ministry’s record; beautify nine entry gates into Benin City and hold cultural competitions in schools across the state,” he said.
The Commissioner further disclosed that the Ministry plans to develop websites, video clips and souvenirs for hotels to showcase the tourism potential in the state.
While emphasising that the state was ready to work with willing and capable investors on a number of projects, Osemwegie-Ero said, “the Ministry plans to revive abandoned tourist’s sites, including Captain Philip’s tomb and Oba Ovonramwen’s resting place, along Ekehuan Road.
Other projects, according to him, are the Ososo Hills in Akoko Edo; Crocodile Lake in Lampese in Edo North; Amazon Water Fall in Igueben (where two separate quality of water flow at parallel lines 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.