Promoter urges FG to maintain historic site of hoisting of Nigerian flag

A tourism promoter, Mr Raphael James, has  called on the Federal Government to ensure proper maintenance of Race Course, now renamed Tafawa Balewa Square, where the Nigerian flag was first hoisted.

James made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

”The site where the Nigerian flag was first hoisted, is one of the nation’s precious tourism site, which must be protected and promoted for international visitation.

”This site is in shambles, stinking and poorly maintained over the years,” he said.

James appealed to the Federal Government to use the celebration of the nation’s Independence anniversary to look into the proper maintenance of the site.

” The venue where Nigerian flag was first hoisted is now overtaken by weed, carcass vehicles are parked around there. The sight alone will disgust anyone, this is not good for Nigeria.

” I want the Federal Government to do something about this, ensure proper maintenance of the place and if possible, create attractive activities around the site to woo tourists,” he said.

James, who is a curator, also urged the federal government to properly maintain the site, where late Muritala Mohammed, was assassinated , adding that  the spot was not known many.

” I visited the spot where late Gen. Murtala Mohammed was shot recently and I was not happy with the state of the place.

” I found a vulcaniser operating there, this is not supposed to be so. The Federal Government should create attractive activities around the place for tourists,” he said.

NAN reports that the TBS is a 14.5-hectare (35.8-acre) ceremonial ground (originally called “Race Course”)

TBS was constructed in 1972 over the site of a defunct rack for horse racing.

It is bounded by Awolowo road, Cable Street, Force road and Catholic Mission Street.

The square has a capacity for 50,000 people.

Facilities at the square include a shopping centre, Airline’s Travel Agencies, restaurants and car parking and a bus terminal.

The entrance to the square has gigantic sculptures of four white horses hovering above the gate and seven eagles, which are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity respectively.

Other monuments in the square include the Remembrance Arcade (with memorials to World War 1, World War II and Nigerian civil war victims) and the 26-storey Independence House, built in 1963 which was for a long time, the tallest building in Nigeria.