Abuja – Eateries, hotels and recreational centres in Abakaliki metropolis on Wednesday witnessed large turnout of holiday makers seeking Christmas relaxation and fun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was large number of people who came to have fun and enjoy the Christmas public holiday in some of the tourist centres visited.
At both the Fatilami and the Eunice Egwu Amusement Parks respectively, hundreds of holiday makers, including children, the old and young, were seen enjoying themselves, as they engaged in some recreational activities.
Some fun seekers at the parks said the Christmas holiday had afforded them the opportunity to relax and catch some fun.
Mr Fred Abana, who was seen relaxing at the Fatilami Amusement Park, described the Christmas season as an important period when people forget their sorrows and stress and enjoy themselves.
He said “I came to the park with my three children to relax and enjoy since we did not travel to the hinterland for Christmas holiday. I consider it wise to bring them here to celebrate with others who are here.’’
Miss Joy Elom, Uzoma Eke and Agnes Ogwu, who were also at the park, said they appreciated God for the gift of Jesus Christ whose birth the whole Christendom were celebrating.
Elom said “I have come to relax and have fun with others here; for me, it is a great relief and I am enjoying every bit of it. I thank God for the gift of Jesus, whose birth we are celebrating and it is unique.’’
A restaurant attendant at the Fatilami Amusement Park, Miss Ijeoma Okogwu, said the occasion was an opportunity to make huge sales.
‘`The influx of people into the park is an advantage for us to make brisk sales; we are making high sales this period.’’
NAN reports that Mr Biggs, Grace Court hotels and Citiexotic Hotel also recorded high turnout, as people celebrate with their loved ones.
Mr Lucky Chukwu, John Agom and Alphonsus Ibina, at the Grace Court Hotels and Suite, said they came to ease off tension and expressed gratitude to God for sparing their lives to see another Christmas.
The Suntan Beach in Badagry, Lagos, also recorded a large turnout as fun seekers trooped to celebrate the Christmas.
A NAN correspondent who went round the beach reports that it was filled with visitors from various parts of the country.
Malam Lamorde Manaseh, a roast meat (suya) seller, said he made N23,000 as at 2 p.m. and expected to sell more before the close of the day.
“I wish everyday can be like this in Nigeria so that I can make this kind of money every time. I have made N23,000 already and I’m sure that I will still make more because people are still coming to the beach.’’
“The crowd is so much and this is very good business for me.’’
Mrs Rebecca Atande, a soft drink seller, could not hide her joy over the money she also made, as she said “business has been great since morning and I’m so glad about this because my drinks have finished and I have to get another.’’
Miss Mojirola Balogun, a fun seeker, said she took advantage of the holiday to catch fun at the beach due to her busy schedule.
She said “I rarely have time to have fun due to the nature of my job, so I use holidays like this to relax and catch fun.’’
Mr Isaac Ken, the Officer in charge of Suntan Beach, attributed the large turnout to the safety of the beach and the patriotism of Nigerians.He said the beach had not witnessed any mishap in the last 11 months.
“In the last 11 months, we have not witnessed any drowning in this beach and this can be attributed to the safety measures we put in place.
“The beach is very safe and this factor has contributed to the large turnout of people because they are assured of their safety.’’
In Abuja, however, there were few fun seekers at some recreational areas when NAN visited.
At the Wonderland Amusement Park, there were just a few holiday makers as at 11.a.m.
The Manager of the park, Mr Paul Oko, said the development would improve as soon as Christians returned from Church services.
He said “you know, most people are still in Churches, many of the relaxation spots will come alive as from 2 p.m. when many Christians must have returned.’’
A visitor to the park, Mr Innocent Vincent, said the low turnout of people could be due to the fact that many residents travelled out of Abuja to celebrate Christmas elsewhere.
At the Millennium Park in Abuja, the relaxation arena witnessed few number of fun seekers in the early hours of the day.
An official of the park who refused to reveal his identity, however, expressed optimism that business would pick up as the day went by. (NAN)