Stakeholders want Lokoja as centenary celebration centre


LOKOJA — The people of Kogi State and other eminent academicians at the end of a three-day tourists summit which ended in Lokoja, Tuesday, asked the Federal Government to include the state capital as one of the centres for the Centenary celebrations slated for next year.

The summit tagged, “Conquering Mount Patti,” resolved that ‘’Lokoja occupies a prime position in the history of the country.’’

One of the speakers, Prof. Micheal Omoniwa, in a paper entitled “Lokoja and the Migration of Nigeria Capital Cities” spoke of the importance of Lokoja as a former capital of Northern Nigeria, and the hub of military, commercial and religious activities during the colonial era.

Omolewa, a renowned historian and immediate past Nigeria Ambassador to UNESCO said that it was on Mount Patti in Lokoja that, the late Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, coined the name “Nigeria” for the country, as she viewed the River Niger from the height of the mountain which is 1,500 feet above sea level.

He then urged the Federal Government to include Lokoja among the centres being developed for the celebration of the country, which came into being in 1914, as well as declare Lord Lugard’s Rest House as a national monument and for preservation and development as a tourist centre.

His words “The significant roles Lokoja played in the history of Nigeria, the presence of historical relics in the town, and its being the point of the confluence of River Niger and River Benue, which is a unique tourist attraction make it appropriate to be remembered in the centenary programme.”

Also speaking, Prof Jegede echoed the need for both the Federal Government and UNESCO to show more interest in Mount Patti and its historical relics.

The event featured the climbing of Mount Patti, which housed the relics of Lord Fredrick Lugard’s Rest House as well as the residences of the former High Commissioner of the defunct Northern Protectorate and first colonial Governor-General of Nigeria.

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