by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
JOS – One of the best, and most, popular hotels in Jos the Plateau State capital, has become an eyesore for people, who hitherto found it a haven – for relaxation, to spend their vacation or holidays with their families.
The name is “Plateau Hotel.” As the story goes, it was established as a Guest House during the colonial days, and was largely believed to be a comfort zone for the Colonial Masters. It became a fully-fledged hotel in 1972 and was generating very good revenue for the state.
Plateau Hotel is centrally located, in a very easy and accessible area: in an area where guests will not have a problem relocating it.
The hotel was quite cheap and affordable; it has a capacity of 109 rooms, both single and double, to offer its guests as they come into their rooms. The rooms were well equipped with nice and comfortable beds and offered guests 24 hours’ electricity, air conditioned rooms, dry cleaning and housekeeping services, among others.
The Plateau Hotel is over 60 years since its establishment, while the “Jos Plaza Hotel” is also part of the Plateau Hotel, located at Zaria Road Jos, after Gada Biyu, with about 18 to 24 rooms.
Conscience Triumph took a round trip to the hotel to see the situation of things around it, and discovered that, most of the rooms in the hotel have been turned to residential; 2 rooms given out as offices and some few rooms for the guests, who still hunger for the “golden days” flavor of the hotel and could find themselves there.
This deplorable state of the hotel has become a thing of concern to quite a number of citizens of the state, who wonder why the state government has ‘abandoned’ it.
It could be recalled that, some many years back, when the state government could not manage it well and, as a result, gave it out to a Whiteman from UK, who managed the hotel and maintained some of the government staff, not until 2004, when the state government collected it back. Since then, everything was vandalized and no proper attention from government to either renovate or rehabilitate it.
Our correspondent gathered that, most people, who were used to the hotel, but having been “out of town” for some time, and have come to Jos only to feel disappointed over the way the hotel now looks like.
While speaking to the Manager of Plateau Hotel, Comrade Nanmier Zamkek, he said he assumed duty as the manager of the hotel in August 2019; “that’s barely a year now, and the situation, honestly, has not improved. We have always tried to see, if something will be done. Since the end of tenure of the last management, that was hotel and catering services; that was in 2004,” he said.
Comrade Zamkek narrated that, “We have just been running on skeleton services, until some of the blocks are given out for residential services. In fact, we have only few of the rooms left for daily operation.
“Even, if you go to the conference hall – that’s Banquet Hall, close to the Rock Garden and office here – it has fallen down. We are hoping that the government will come and fix it back for us,” he explained.
He revealed that, “Two (2) bungalows are being given as an office, but to tell you how many rooms are on daily operational and how many rooms are given out, I would not know because I am not the right person to tell you.
“Plateau Hotel has 109 rooms and some of the staff have left on their own because of the poor condition of service; we only have casual staffs,” he noted.
He stressed that, “The Ministry of Tourism comes from time-to-time and takes some measurements. Recently, some of them came and took some measurements again; such things have been happening since, but nothing has been done.”
A staff, who wants his name withheld, appealed to the state government to do something about the hotel, saying that “Plateau Hotel is known all over the world, because some people, who left Nigeria for long, when they come and see the situation of the hotel shed tears, and they were disappointed. We want the hotel to come back to life.”
Comrade Zamkek further stated that, “The situation of the hotel, as you can see for yourself, it has suffered neglect for many years and the structures are getting dilapidated every day.
“Plateau Hotel has been in existence for over 60 years, and a structure like that needs renovation or to be rebuilt. It’s only government, who channels resources there, for it to go back to its former self as it used to be.
“Even though, I assumed office last year, but the Commissioner for Tourism has promised that it is working towards fixing it, if not for this COVID-19 issue; but you know the state is hosting festival for Arts and Culture this year. Expectedly, the structures should be fixed to accommodate some visitors.”
He noted that, living a structure like that – without people living in, or abandoned – it collapses, and that is why the managers before now deemed it fit to make it residential, in order for people to keep it.
While expressing optimism for the hotel’s facelift, Comrade Zamkek stated that, “The skeleton services we are running for now, awaiting for government’s response to fix in structures, our tenants are aware that it’s a government’s property.
“Even in January, this year, we went into agreement with the tenants: whenever government intends to fix the structure, they will vacate as soon as possible. They are aware that once work commences, they are expected to vacate. We would give them notice.
He noted that, “Those hotels are like a cow that has been milked over the years. When you milk a cow, you are expected to give it care, feed it properly, so that it would regain its strength and produce more milk.
In the same vein, he said, “Plateau Hotel and Jos Plaza Hotel have been milked over the years. We don’t expect resources that are generated from the hotels to be enough to fix the hotels without services.
“When you make little money, you channel it back. If only government can focus attention back, I think the hotels will be the way they used to be, even better than before, as the ‘Home of Peace and Tourism,’” he stated.
Also, some stakeholders in the state have called on government to look into renovating and rehabilitating hotels, “because this will increase the revenue generation in the state and it would boost tourism.”
Our correspondent reports that, the 2 hotels need serious attention and focuses from government to enable them boost tourism in the state.