By Daniel Eteghe
Despite being warned against the implementation of the Hotel Licensing Amendment Law No. 23 at the face of the on-going court action instituted by the Federal goverment, Lagos State Commissioner for tourism, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi yesterday said it was illegal for anybody or group of persons to operate outside the said law.
Senator Afikuyomi during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos during the week said that anybody that parades himself as acting on behalf of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) will be dealt with drastically.
H e said that it is the sacred responsibility of the Lagos State Government to regulate and co-ordinate every tourism activities in the state stressing that every one operating his/her legitimate business within the industry should carry on without any fear of intimidation, harassment and extortion by anyone no matter how highly placed the person could be.
“Let me for the purposes of further clarification state unequivocally that NTDC is an illegal body and no one must parade themselves as acting on behalf of NTDC in Lagos State forthwith “he stated.
According to Senator Afikuyomi, it was illegal for anybody or group of persons to operate outside the Hotel Licensing Amendment Law No. 23 Volume 43 Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette 2010 and The Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law No. 30 Volume 42 Lagos State of Nigeria Official Gazette of 3rd June 2009.
He added that the provision of the constitution clarified that activities of the NTDC was drastically limited to tourist traffic which was relating to issues of movement of tourists as well as foreign travellers from other parts of the world.
“How can the NTDC mis-interprete and mis-represent this provision to regulate an industry that is local and purely a State Economy”
Senator Afikuyomi promised Lagosians and Hotel operators in particular that the state government will protest them against multiple charges imposed by the NTDC promising that it would support the industry through infrastructural renewal and contingent support services.
“We will not allow them to misuse security agencies for their own selfish interests. We will not allow multiple regulatory processes in our State. We will protest the industry against multiple charges and support the industry through infrastructural renewal and contingent support services to the industry” he added.
It will be recalled that the Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation has sued the Lagos State government on the implementation of the Hotel Licensing Law and the case is still pending at the Supreme court in Abuja.