A mesmerizing mix of colonial vestiges and modern planning, Minna is much more than the clichéd image of a bridge between the past and present.
Occupied and settled from every direction, it combines influences from people of different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds. The magnificent central Mosque in the heart of the city is as much a part of the social landscape as the group of exotic church constructions on Bosso Road.
Politically, modern Minna is a planned city whose contrived Western feel indicates the priorities of one man – Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu whose administration’s vision of the state being among the top three most developed capitals in the country by 2020, engendered its transformation into becoming the most economically developed, and most visited part of Nigeria state.
If you are in the west central part of Nigeria and looking to tour this magnificent city for the first time, Jovago.com, Africa’s No. 1 online hotel booking portal has cobbled together a selection of 5 essential stops to help you get the best feel of the metropolis.
Minna Railway Station
A trip to Minna is incomplete without a tour of its railway station where the 114 year old locomotive steam engine, built in 1901 is on display.
A 0-6-07½ x 12” two cylinder 2.6” gauge locomotive built by Hunslet Engine Company, England; the locomotive ran on the 12” Wushishi-Zungeru-Barijuko Tramway and facilitated construction works on the railway road that linked Zungeru to Wushishi.
The Minna railways station is an essential stop as it provides the platform on which this steam tramway has been preserved and thus provides rich history on Nigeria’s transport system.
Hilltop Arts Centre
Although not magnificent in its outlook, the Hilltop Arts Centre, the first literary center in the Northern Nigeria offers an arts studio, theatre, creativity garden and literature library and serves as a platform where young ones use various forms of artistic expressions to showcase their inherent talents.
It is also used as a relaxation spot, for public speaking, recitals and other literary activities. The centre is noted more for its significance in the city and is fast becoming a tourist destination, especially for writers. To experience the Niger State fully, attend one of the Hilltop Arts Centre’s peer review meetings which holds every Friday by 4pm.
Minna Township Stadium
Popularly known as The Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium, the Minna Township Stadium is a hub for sports; mainly football matches as it stands as the home stadium of Niger Tornadoes – the most popular local football club in the state.
Built with a capacity of 5,000 people, plans are being made by the state government to expand the stadium to a capacity of 30,000 at least.
U.K Bello Arts Theatre Centre
Situated in the heart of the city, this building has the best theatre structure in the northern regions of the nation. The U.K Bello Arts Theatre which is a replica of the National Arts Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos, was commissioned as recently as 1991 and has been the rallying point for cultural activities since then.
The theatre with its paradisal four-dimensional stage, evinces a contemporary air and demands quality artistic expressions as full compliment of the huge resources invested in it. Aside from theatrical performances, the location plays hosts to other events including national and state events.
A small airport located 10 km northwest of Minna, is one of the closest airfields to the administrative capital city of Nigeria – Abuja – and so serves as an alternate landing strip to Abuja airport.
It is also an important landmark as it provides flight connectivity to many destinations. Like most other airports in the country, there are several private but licensed taxis there once the traveller exits the terminal. While there are no extravagant features to the airport’s construction, it remains a pivotal stop in the city.
Other stops around town include Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Murtala Mohammed Garden and Park, The Democracy Park in Keteren Gwari, Magatakarda Park at Tunga area.
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