By Victor Akaa, A Public Affairs Analyst
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT also called Abuja, the administrative headquarters of the nation, is also indisputably the hub for recreational activities in the country.
The capital city houses several recreational spots that offer entertainment, relaxation and economic activities, among others. One of the significant recreational spots in the FCT is the famous Jabi Lake.
The Lake which covers a surface area of about 1,300 hectares is unfortunately in deplorable condition.
As a man-made water body, the lake was initially conceptualized and created primarily to provide water to the residents of Abuja.
But the plan was dropped when the Federal Government built the Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plant in 1990 to serve Abuja and environs.
The Lake and its surroundings offer a range of leisure activities such as boat riding, horse riding, playgrounds for children, and relaxation for adults.
In 2007, former President Olusegun Obasanjo inaugurated the surroundings of the Lake and called it Jabi Lake Park with a resort where social activities are held.
Unfortunately, the reservoir suddenly became a mere fish processing hub due to its current deplorable state and neglect.
The once charming oasis now suffers total neglect as seaweeds and other marine plants have taken over the water bodies.
Its surroundings are also now bushy and unkept, making it to lose its natural taste.
The once beautiful lake is now marred by pollution, dirty waters, illegal encroachment and dilapidated infrastructure due to the absence of the desired government attention.
There is no gain saying that the lake, if adequately developed, has the potential to compete with some well-known artificial lakes and parks in other parts of the world.
The serene environment and breathtaking views make it an ideal place for people to unwind and connect with nature, providing a much-needed escape from the fast-paced city life.
With the right interventions, Jabi Lake can be transformed into a thriving recreational hub, offering a range of activities such as boating, fishing, picnicking, tourist activities, and water sports and could also attract foreign investments, boosting vibrant economic activities in FCT.
Therefore, the need for a comprehensive facelift to unlock the full potential of Jabi Lake is not just desirable, but an urgent necessity.
Now that the current leadership in the FCT has come on board, under Chief Nyesom Wike it is necessary to expeditiously revamp the Lake to attract social and economic activities.
The visible hands of Chief Wike already seen in the FCT under a short period of his administration should also be extended to the lake.
Government should also as a matter of urgency consider addressing the issue of environmental conservation to preserve the ecological balance of the Lake in order to avoid pollution, there’s need to implement effective waste management systems by way of treating sewage before it enters the Lake.
Additionally, reforestation and shoreline protection measures must be taken to combat erosion and maintain the natural beauty of the surroundings.
Equally important is the improvement of infrastructural development around Jabi Lake; this is crucial in enhancing its accessibility and usability.
The development of well-maintained walking paths, cycling tracks, and scenic viewpoints will not only encourage more tourist activities but also attract investment and engage more people in recreational activities.
Constructing proper restroom facilities, waste bins, and seating areas will further enhance the comfort and convenience of visitors.
The inclusion of cafes, restaurants, and shops will provide additional attractions and create opportunities for local businesses to thrive.
There’s also the need for the government to encourage community participation by creating community-driven initiatives, such as volunteer clean-up programmes and educational campaigns on environmental conservation, which will foster a sense of ownership and pride among the residents.
This will definitely ensure the sustainability and long-term success of Jabi Lake’s revitalisation.
Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Salihu Tejumola