Since coming to office on May 29, 2015, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State has made it clear that his administration would try to complete all relevant abandoned projects in the state. The governor often spoke passionately about tourism’s investment potentials and its multiplier effect for the state, Lalong recently gave assurance that the long forgotten Roc International Hotel is one of the projects penciled down for completion.
Roc International Hotel, an abandoned towering structure at Shere hills around Lamingo in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State is yet to see better days. Standing alone in front of a large lake but surrounded by captivating and beautiful rock formations, Roc International Hotel is unarguably the best that Jos is yet to have.
It was late Solomon Lar’s government that awarded the contract of the hotel in 1981 to the Flemingdon Dev. (Nig) Limited with the aim of building a five Star hotel with 318 rooms on completion. However, 35 years down the line, with now 280 rooms constructed, the hotel has seen 12 different governors attempting to complete it without success.
The Plateau Investment and Property Development Company (PIPC) stated on its website that the hotel, sitting on 29.189 hectares of land would after completion have three presidential suites, eight luxury suites, 15 executive suites, 292 luxury double bedrooms, executive office complex, grill room, main dining room, two specialty restaurants, and two medium size conference rooms with the capacity of 500 seats.
Other features of the hotel include one large conference hall with capacity of 200 seats, bar, foyer, casino, cinema, olympic size swimming pool, tennis court, four shops for chemist, barber and others, a helicopter pad, horse stable, a mini golf course, car park, gardens, organized road walk and water sports which was why the hotel was built to face the lake.
A feasibility study said to have been conducted in 1996 had showed that the hotel project is very viable and profitable, as well as cardinal to the overall development of tourism and investment in Plateau State as it would provide the five star luxurious treatment sought by investors and tourists.
Our report gathered that the reason often given as to why the hotel was never completed was as a result of cash flow problems. The development history of the project has suffered heavy blows and set-backs with available documents indicating that the first contractor had moved out of the site in 1983 after developing 180 rooms.
In 1987, the contract was re-awarded to Messers B. Stalilini who developed additional 100 rooms bringing the total to 280 rooms, but records show that the project had stopped after the majority shareholder of the company, Chief Sunny Odogwu withdrew and finances became a problem.
The last effort to complete the project by the Plateau State government was in 1996 when it signed a joint venture agreement with Gulfex International Nigeria Limited. The agreement stated that the project would be completed at 2.3 billion without disclosing the denominations either in Naira or Dollar, with an Equity Base of 1.3 billion, and with the equity distribution in percentages where foreign partners investor has 55%, the investor 30%, while second partner (Govt. of Plateau) with 12% and employees with 3%. The value of builders work on site was N95 million and was taken as part of government equity share.
The document clarified that an agreement on loan component has not been executed because of cash flow problems, therefore, government carried out its summary of the expenditure on four sub-headings including cost of construction, consultancy service, and pre-operational expenses and travelling allowances. Under construction it has paid Flemingdo Nig. Ltd, sum of 4,557,203.00, while Stabilini (Phase I) sum of 3,837,158.00 and Stabilini (Phase II), the sum of 4,958,949.85.
The documents also shows ECEP Engineering and Planners, carried out design and supervision during the construction of the hotel and the company was paid 4,452,266.00as reimbursable. The pre-operational expenses covers from 1978-1993 and 2,134,321.00was spent on administration, registration, stamp duty and initial drawing.
Now 35 years later, Governor Lalong is geared to take up the project. The governor who has made several trips overseas as part of efforts to attract investors to Plateau’s tourism destination recently made it clear that the Pandam Wild Life Park, the Roc International Hotel and the Wase rock were some of the areas given as proposal to Chinese investors.
There is no record of any attempt to complete the hotel project since the return to democracy in 1999. However, Governor Lalong is committed to now complete a journey which started 35 years ago. His appeal to the people of the state is to live in peace, stating that peace was the cardinal condition that may warrant any investor’s interest.
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