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COVID-19: Anabel boss seeks more govt support for tourism, hospitality industry

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By Ebere Chibuzor

Thriving tourism sector in Nigeria has been threatened by the new COVID-19 strain even with measures being put in place to contain the virus.

This observation was made by the General Manager, Anabel Apartment and Suites, Vikas Saini, who noted that hotel occupancy had dropped drastically, leading to increased job loss in the travel and tourism industry.

Saini, who is also Chief Operating Officer at Anabel Apartment and Suites further, urged the Nigerian government to do more to support the hospitality industry.

He said, “Hospitality and tourism sector has also had its own share of the challenges arising from COVID-19 lockdown” imposed last year by the Nigerian’s government, stressing that with government’s announcement of stay-at-home and “social distancing” directives, most restaurant businesses were adversely affected. He said this led to rapid shutdown in cities and states to control COVID-19 spread, throwing many restaurants and hotels across the country out of business.

Saini pointed out that resorts and hotels booked by excited vacationers and corporate conference goers before the present COVID-19 pandemic had to be cancelled.

According to him, prior to the pandemic outbreak, hospitality sector was a major revenue earner, with propensity of creating thousands of jobs annually.

For instance, he said, “Nigeria has a long coastal line, forest reserves and cultural heritage sites which can improve tourism.”

However, he noted, “The impact of COVID-19 is making it extremely difficult for many of the hospitality industry’s establishments to continue paying workers with a sharp drop in sales and income, resulting in job losses.

“Many hotels are already closing down because of low patronage and inability to meet up with payment of workers’ salary, electricity bills and other operating expenses.”

He also gave major challenges of the hospitality industry in Nigeria as poor energy supply and cynical global perspicacity, poor standardisation and flawed hotel classification.

Others are inconsistent regulatory environment and skilled labour shortage caused by a few entrepreneurs with little knowledge of the workings of the industry as well as different taxes being paid to various forms of government.

Saini however noted, “Nigeria’s tourism sector, with its great potential, has not been explored maximally.”

He also spoke about “Anabel Apartments and Suites, which he described as the latest bespoke boutique apartment hotel in Abuja,  providing one of the highest quality accommodations and impeccable services to an expanding array of noble and appreciative customers.

With emphasis on building loyalty through high level of quality service, he said the hotel aimed to offer clients modern stylish and affordable apartments, suites and independent rooms for both short and long-term stay.

He said, “We have a well-equipped modern multipurpose hall, with good acrostic characteristics, ideal for conferences with seating capacity 200 guests’ minimum, banquets and meetings.

“Do not be amazed, at this time, Anabel Apartments and Suites invites guests to experience African menu of culinary delights; though the hotel’s in-house bar was a great place to relax hitherto, this allows guests to choose from a colorful assorted drinks stacked in finely cut-glass bottles.

“The new outdoor pool bar is another exciting offer. Standard features and facilities in Anabel are super king bed size, free high speed wifi connection, secure digital safe, laundry service, SPA, GYM, swimming pool and many more. Additionally, the hotel is strategically located at a serene niche in the highbrow Asokoro Residential District, Abuja.”

Saini further explained that in relation to the cost per unit space and quality of accommodation, ANABEL offers the most competitive rate and value for money package amongst the prime apartment and hotels in Abuja.

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Igboho: Yoruba monarchs, others in Benin Republic court

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Many supporters of embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, have stormed the Cour De’appal De Cotononu for his trial.
Some traditional rulers of Yoruba-speaking areas in Benin Republic are leading Igboho’s supporters to the court ahead of the arrival of Igboho, who was arrested in the country last week.
A group, Isokan Omo Odua, had mobilised supporters for the embattled supporter as a sign of solidarity.
BBC Yoruba reported that anxious supporters were seen outside the court premises waiting for the arrival of Igboho.

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Nigerian-American financial analyst Adenle wins award

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An international non-profit based in Seattle, United States of America, Women in Voice (WiV), has awarded its DEI In Voice award to Dr Omolabake Adenle.

 

Adenle, a Nigerian- American quantitative financial analyst, who won the award – which recognises outstanding contributions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in voice – “for making African languages accessible to voice solutions” had three other finalists in this category of the WiV awards.

 

Holder of a PhD in Bayesian Signal Processing from Cambridge University, the founder/chief executive officer of Aja.La Studios, which builds natural language and speech processing applications for under-resourced languagesm had in 2017 been a finalist in the 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa organised by the African Innovation Foundation.

 

Grateful for the WiV Award, she said it would help “contribute to the momentum needed to work towards making voice technologies accessible to all Africans” noting that “building a speech technology company that provides broad support of African languages is extremely challenging, (but) voice technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of information and service access in Africa.”

 

It is her belief that ““digitising African languages will help make information more accessible to Africans.”

 

Formerly a vice president for quantitative and derivative strategies at Morgan Stanley in the United Kingdom, she started building African language-learning apps such as SpeakYorubaApp in her free time.

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Onochie to know fate on INEC job Tuesday

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The public is expected to know on Tuesday (tomorrow) the outcome of the screening of a Senate panel of the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, and five others nominated for appointment as national commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission.

The panel, it was learnt, would submit its report to the plenary on Tuesday.

Onochie, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi, Saidu Babura Ahmad, Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam and Dr. Baba Bila were screened last Thursday by the Senate Committee on INEC nine months after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded a request to the Red Chamber to confirm them.

Onochie’s nomination had sparked outrage from the opposition lawmakers and some from the All Progressives Congress and civil society groups, who argued that she was “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an important institution like INEC.

Others accused her of being a card-carrying member of ruling APC.

But the presidential aide said she had stopped being a member of any political party since 2019.

The screening session became rowdy when a member of the panel, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) suggested that Onochie be placed on oath to swear that she did not belong to any political party.

But the suggestion was opposed by other committee members, who noted that putting Onochie on oath was against the Senate rule.

The Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), said his committee would look at all the documents before the panel, decide the nominees and forward its recommendations to the Senate.

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