Geology And Geophysics

Geological and other scientific features that will boost tourism in Nigeria

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Exotic geological and other scientific features will boost tourism in Nigeria.
Tourism is often contemplated without consideration of the concepts, rigorous demands, economics and what features attract tourists.
Tourism has sometimes been regarded as belonging to the league of grand en fete. One or two curious foreign visitors who may be in the region for other purposes may sometimes honor such activities.
Tourism is properly an industry, such as oil and gas development, mining, agriculture that require substantial investment following appropriate economic forecasting and modelling. It has its own patios.
Tourism to some extent involves the organization and operation of a holiday as a commercial enterprise. The operation could be companies whose main aim is the maximization of profits. On the other hand, the tourists aim at maximizing benefits during the visits, at a cost that is as low as possible.
Tourism in Nigeria In Retrospect
Tourists have visited exciting locations in Nigeria for several decades. They were attracted by features such as the game reserves, hills, plateaux, cultural festivals, among others.
However, the visits were generally sporadic and the numbers of tourists limited. There are a number of tourists' boards, but large-scale operations have not been executed. Industrial development must be preceded by adequate planning and investment. Investment capital is needed to establish or improve relevant infrastructure.
Tourists areas have not been clearly identified and relevant facilities are generally lacking. Another important activity is the information. Prospective tourists around the globe need to know the benefits to be derived from visiting the areas. The information have been ineffective.
There has been no integrated effort in many other directions. The pace of the development of the industry has been consequently slow. There are hopeful signs for example the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Tourism.
The potential of the tourist industry in Nigeria is immense.
Magobunje (1994) described some major physical features as follows:
Coastal State
Area 923,768 Sq Km
Physical features of moderate dimensions, highest lands are along the eastern borders of the country and rise to a maximum of 2, 040m above the sea level at Vogel Peak; the Jos Plateau rises to 1780m at Shere Hill and 1698m at Wadi Hill
Main rivers are the Niger and Benue.
The Niger originates from the Fouta Djallon Mountains in the Sierra Leone and has the last 4200km in Nigeria; the major tributaries of the Niger River are the Sokoto, Kaduna and Anambra Rivers; the other important rivers include the Ogun, Oshun, Imo and the Cross. Many of which flow into the sea through a systems of lagoons.
There are other features, which may be of interest to tourists e.g.
- Lakes
- Hot springs
- Caves
- Waterfalls
Brief Case Studies of Tourism in Selected African Countries
a) Kenya
Tourism is a key industry in Kenya. In 1989, 714,020 tourists arrived in the country providing receipts of US $ 420m.
Important touristy features:
- Total area 580,367 Sq Km or 569,137 Sq Km excluding inland waterways (mostly Lake Turkana and part of Lake Victoria).
- Highlands: height augmented by outpourings of Tertiary lavas plateaux of 2500m -3000m; Mount Kenya 5199m and Mount Elgon 4321m
- Great rift valley bisects the country from north to south
- Passive volcanoes but with steam vents and hot springs
b) Gambia [source Church 1994]
During the 1991/1992, season 63,131 tourist arrived in Gambia. Tourism has overtaken groundnuts as the major foreign exchange earner.
Touristy features:
- Attractive beaches
- Abundant birdlife.
In 1987/88 season, there were 4,500 resort beds in tourist resort area.
c) Sao Thorne and Principe
The archipelago attracts several tourists. Major features include:
- Area 964 Sq Km
- Extinct volcanoes; highest point is Pico de Sao Thorne (2024m) and a dozen lesser cones (about 1000m in height)
- Unpopulated beaches
- Unique species of wildlife and flora
An important feature of the development of tourism in the archipelago is the very high level of foreign investment
Lesson from the case studies
Tourism constitutes major sources of foreign exchange in the three countries. It is given a substantial attention in the macroeconomic policies and attracts heavy investment both local and foreign.
As a major industry, it may be adversely affected by political risks, inadequate infrastructure and adverse natural phenomena. For example, high level of rainfall for most of the year limits the duration of the tourist season in Sao Thorne and Principle. Also, the high cost of air travel to islands is an inhibiting factor. Political unrest may have reduced the number of tourist in Kenya and Gambia during some seasons.
Exotic geological and other scientific features
This section is an experiential evaluation of the touristy potential of some geological features rocks, minerals, fossils etc as well as geomorphological, artifacts (archaeology) among others.
Also living species flora, birds, and wildlife.
During my frequent visit to USA and Europe as a consultant in the 1980's I met several potential tourists whose interest was mainly on what I now describe as exotic'.
These include:
i) Fossils

Bones of ancient fish and reptiles
Protozoan Foraminifera
Wood fossils
ii) Artifacts for example bronze [copper and tin artifact].
iii) Geological sections and historic geomorphological features.
A few examples will suffice to illustrate features sought by some of the potential foreign tourists.
Bones of reptiles Sokoto Basin
- Dukamaje Formation
- Dange formation
Fish teeth etc Abia State
- Ameki Formation [sharks' teeth]
Turtles Sokoto Basin
The Sokoto Basin provides genera and several species of great interest to tourists. E.g.
Palaeocene [Dange Formation Kalambina Formation]
Rotalia Lamarck
Woodella Haque
Ornatanomalina Haque
Rosalina d'Orbiguy
Sokotina Haynes and Nwabufo-Ene
Wood fossils e.g. Illo and Gundumi Formations, Sokoto Basin
Living species of some flora, birds and wildlife
Many tourists are attracted to the following:
Sao Thorne and Principle
Unique species of wildlife and flora
The authentic identification and categorization of the genera and species of flora, birds and wildlife is important.
Geological Section
The Sokoto Basin is very attractive in this regard. There are excellent sections from the Pre-Maastrichtian to the Eocene.
Gwandu Formation
Kalambina Formation
Dange Formation
Wurno Formation
Dukamaje Formation
Gundumi/Illo Formations
Other geological features
The Ring Dyke The Younger Granites, Jos Plateau
The Tegina Batholith
Benue Trough [A Rift Valley that is over 800Km long and up to 40Km wide]
Geomorphological Features
Hills, Plateaux Many of these have great scenic beauty. However, they must be described and relevant infrastructure provided.
Rivers, lakes Inland waterways should be made navigable, the courses described and the touristy features clearly noted.
Touristy features in Nigeria
Good touristy features in Nigeria are abundant and are widely distributed. Examples are:
a) Physical Features
- Hills
- Plateaux
b) Water Systems
- Rivers
- Lakes
- Rapids/waterfalls
Some water are navigable.
c) Cultural Features
- Cultural centres
- Cultural festivals e.g. Durbar
- Historic sites
d) Scientific Features
Geological Features

- Fossils [e.g. fish remains, reptile remains]
- Rift Valley [Trough]
- Intrusions e.g. Ring Dykes [Jos Plateau], Batholith - Tegina

- wildlife
- birdlife
- Flora
e) Others
Touristy features are to be clearly identified and described. Photographs are necessary for information. [Benefit of the potential tourists.]
The Intrinsic Value of Infrastructure
Adequate infrastructure is critically important in the tourist industry. Key features are:
- roads
- railways
- water ways
- airports
- Tourists hotels in various centres (adequate number of beds and other facilities are necessary).
Power supply
- Electricity
Transport facilities
Tourer etc
Cheap air services in and out of the country would be a good incentive.
Economics of the tourism industry
Economic theory indicates that the primary aim of a company/firm is to maximize profits. Companies or organizations that run the tourist industry aim at maximizing profits. Tourists also aim at maximizing benefits from the visits. Consequently, the dynamic equation must be balanced for progress to be indicated.
What will be the appropriate market style for the tourist industry in Nigeria?
The following market styles may be considered:
a) Monopoly
b) Competition
c) Oligopoly
A more detailed classification is as follows:
[modified from NEB 1987 see footnote]
I. Monopoly
a) Single firm monopoly
i) with blockaded entry
ii) with impeded entry
b) Monopoly of a few firms [types as in a]
II. Atomistic competition
i) with homogenous products
ii) with differential products monopolistic competition
B) with differential products heterogeneous competition
III) Oligopoly
A) with homogenous products pure' oligopoly
i) with blockaded entry
ii) with impeded entry
iii) with easy entry
B) with differential products "heterogeneous oligopoly"
i) with blockaded entry
ii) with impeded entry
iii) with easy entry
It is doubtful that a single firm monopoly would be suitable for the tourist industry projected in highly specialized touristy features; monopoly by a few firms may yield positive results (i.e. oligopoly)
Examples are:
i) Where there is a high cost of infrastructural development and maintenance.
ii) In a situation in which consultant fees and cost of other relevant services are high.
In many cases, the suitable structure would be atomistic competition with homogenous and heterogeneous products.
II) Oligopoly with both homogenous and heterogeneous products. Two types may apply:
- With impeded entry [where operational cost, including fees payable for use of infrastructure, make entry difficult.
- With easy entry
Blockaded entry does not appear suitable in this regard.
Suggested Model for Tourism Development in Nigeria
Action by Federal Government
Macroeconomic policies- there should be a substantial provision for tourism in the macroeconomic plans especially with respect to:
Fiscal issues foreign exchange
Entry permit and other sectoral issues
Infrastructural development
Roads, railways, airports, power supply, communications. Some level of privatization may be found expedient. Firms/companies using facilities may pay for use of infrastructural facilities as appropriate. Such macroeconomic fiscal arrangement would ensure adequate maintenance of the same
Establishment of tourist regions/centres while firms/companies function as owners and operators, the Federal Government/State Governments properly should act as promoters and regulators.
The touristy features in the different regions are to be identified and categorized. There should be accurate description of the features. A true picture should be given of what the tourists may see or do {the attractions and benefits}. Experts [consultants] are to be engaged to carry out the necessary description of features and the categorization. For example
- Unique birdlife
- Unique flora
- Unique wildlife
- Exotic geological and other scientific touristy features.
Microeconomic issues [firms/companies]
Some of the services in the foregoing are to be provided by the firms/companies in the different regions or centres. Some level of co-operation [or co-operative arrangement] will be necessary.
A hypothetical of a tourist family of four visiting Nigeria is given below to support adequate integration of facilities. The party consists of a man, his wife, a son and a daughter.
- The man may wish to spend his time in studying fish remains.
- The wife and son focus their interest on the scenic beauty of the hills.
- The daughter could be interested in cultural centres and archaeological features.
The foregoing provides a rationale for a detailed study and integration of all touristy features, including the unusual.
Attracting Investors
Potential tourists are encouraged by a number of factors, the key ones being:
a) Political stability
b) Adequately documented touristy features [technological parameter]
c) Reasonable or moderate cost of transport
d) Appropriate infrastructural facilities
It is important to note that some tourists have peculiar interests perhaps unusual idiosyncrasies.
Entre nous I had acquaintance of a potential tourist (during my tours overseas) who had completed plans to visit Kenya and South Africa.
Key interest
I) Kenya
To get to the equator and have a feel of it. The equator bisects Kenya from north to south i.e. it extends 40S/40N.
II) South Africa
Excitement of being at the Tropic of Capricorn.
The foregoing suggests that tourism organizers should not overlook unobtrusive touristy features even the unusual, uncommon or exotic.
The new frontier emphasizes that tourism must be regarded as a profit-making industry and provided relevant microeconomic attention [both fiscal and sectoral issues].
The exotic' geological and other scientific touristy features will undoubtedly boost tourism in Nigeria. it is necessary for experts to identify and categorize such features.

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