By Steve Oni, Ilorin
The Kwara State House of Assembly and Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressives Union (IEDPU) have raised the alarm over the proliferation of hotels and guest houses in the state.
The legislature and the socio- cultural group were unanimous in their views that proliferation of hotels, especially in Ilorin, the state capital was aiding criminality in the state.
They said, aside from promoting immortality among the youths, the hotels were also serving as hideouts for criminals.
They also blamed the unacceptable development on illegal conversion of residential buildings to hotels, especially at Adewole housing estate in Ilorin.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum organised by the IEDPU over rising security threats in Ilorin, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad said steps were being taken to reverse the trend.
He said recent findings had shown that Kwara has highest number of hotels in the country with Adewole Housing Estate, Ilorin topping the list with over 100 hotels.
He attributed the upsurge in the hotels to the indiscriminate conversion of residential houses to guest houses.
Represented by Hon. Abdulrafiu Abdulrahman, member representing Ilorin North West, Ahmad disclosed that an executive bill meant to curb the proliferation of hotels in the state had scaled second reading in the Assembly.
He said the legislative framework when eventually passed, would introduce stringent conditions into the land use law, which would in turn, make it difficult for anyone to convert residential buildings to hotels or guest houses.
Ahmad said the fallout of the trend includes nude parties, indecent dressing, cultism, adding some of the hotels serve as abodes for questionable characters.
He said : “By gazette, Kwara has highest number of hotels in Nigeria. In Adewole Housing Estate alone, there are over 100 hotels or guest houses. Most of the hotels are residential buildings converted to hotels with no approval from relevant authorities.
“We are presently working on an executive bill that would regulate proliferation of hotels, sales of alcohol and consumption of liquor within some areas within Ilorin metropolis. So, if that law is put in place, we will put in stringent measures that would make it impossible or very difficult to actually convert a residential building to a hotel.
“But let me correct erroneous impression in some quarters that the upsurge in crime in recent times was as a result of political issue. That is not true. Rather, it is caused by urbanization.”
Also speaking, the state Chief Judge, Justice Sulaiman Durosinlohun Kawu, expressed displeasure that Ilorin did not prepare for challenges associated with urbanization and expansion, which could not be isolated from the wave of crime in the city.
As a way out, the jurist urged the IEDPU to have a roll call of retired security officials from Ilorin and invite them to a meeting with a view to deliberating on how best to arrest the alarming situation.
The IEDPU President, Alhaji Abdulhamid Adi, warned that the cultural values of Ilorin are being gradually eroded with corrosive influence of alien practices.
He noted that the city is rapidly expanding with influx of strangers but stressed the need to rise to the challenges in the interest of peace and harmony the city is revered.
Adi urged residents of Ilorin and its environs to report any strange development to appropriate security agencies for swift action.
The forum was attended by retired Grand Kadis in the state including Justice Mutalib Ahmad Ambali, Justice Abdulkadir Imam-Fulani, Justice Solihu Olohuntoyin Muhammad and a member of the state House of Assembly, Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Taiwo (Owode/Onire Constituency of Asa Local Government Area).