By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA- SIX months after an agreement taking over the abandoned Enyimba International Hotel, Aba; an international hotel chain, Swiss International Hotel and Resorts, is yet to fulfill its promise to rebuild the facility and make it a five star hotel.
Managing Director, Africa, of Swiss International Hotels and Resorts, Dr. Wasiu Babalola, speaking at the flag off of the project in December 2016 in Aba, had said Enyimba hotel would become part of an international chain which will operate as a five star hotel and would boast of facilities of international standard with 141 executive and four presidential suites, sports facilities, a 1000 capacity conference centre, swimming pool, a hospitality school staff quarters, club house as well as the dredging of the Aba river.
He disclosed that the completion of the hotel would cost over N1 billion as most of the structures at the expansive premises have been dilapidated due to long years of neglect.
When South East Voice visited the six storey hotel located beside the Aba River, along Ikot Ekpene road, it was discovered that rehabilitation work was yet to commence, six months after the flag off of the project.
Some parts of the uncompleted buildings have been taken over by weeds while miscreants appeared to have returned to the uncompleted buildings where they were sacked from. A shop owner at the area told South East Voice that a clean up exercise had commenced on the main building of the hotel, but this couldn’t be confirmed.
Efforts to get Dr. Wasiu Babalola’s reaction were failed as he told South East Voice to call back. He did not respond to repeated calls and text messages sent to his mobile number. Enyimba International hotel was built in 1979 by the former governor of old Imo State, Chief Sam Mbakwe, and acquired by Abia State government in 1991 when the state was created.
The Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ACCIMA, who acquired the hotel from the state government has been unable to complete it due to paucity of funds to execute the project. In 2016, ACCIMA signed an agreement handing over the hotel to Swiss International to complete and manage the facility.