By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
As Christians across the globe mark the birth of Jesus Christ, Abuja fun seekers in their large numbers on Monday, trooped to some parks in the Federal Capital Territory to celebrate.
They spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressing appreciation to God for making them witness another celebration to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.
However, some said they did not allow the fuel scarcity to affect their joy during the Christmas.
At the popular ‘Magicland’ located near the city gate, fun seekers in their hundreds trooped out to catch their fun in the spirit of the celebration.
NAN reports that a Sterling Bank mobile Auto Teller Machine (ATM) with registration plate number Lagos, MUS 723 XR was stationed in the park to ensure that fun seekers did not run out of cash.
Mr Johnbull Emeka, a business man at Wuse Market said he was in the park to give his family a good time.
“There is no better time of having fun with the family than this time. It is a public holiday and you can see a lot of families are here to catch their fun.
“Even though fuel is scarce, fun is not scarce here; parents, children and even grand parents are all here catching their fun.
“You know transport fare has gone very high, so instead of spending so much on transport to go home for Christmas, it is better to come and enjoy in the park and be happy.
“However, we thank God for being alive to celebrate this Christmas and we pray He keeps us alive to celebrate the next one. Nigeria will get better with time,” Emeka said.
Mr Paul Okoh appreciated the fun seekers describing them as “wonderful people.
“They know that ‘Magicland’ is the best place for kids and adults to catch their fun. We thank them.
“Our equipment never fails and our security are always prepared and ready for any eventuality. We will always try to make Abuja people happy and satisfied as they come to have fun in the park,” Okoh said.
NAN reports that the park’s roller coaster, bumper Car, Water Splash, Horse Ride, Pirate Boat, Bouncing Castle were filled with fun seekers enjoying themselves.
At Monoliza Amusement Park located at Garki, Area 11, Mrs Agatha Anchor, a civil servant said that it has not been easy. However, she said, “the reason for the season is worth of the celebration.”
Anchor, who had a bumper car and horse ride with her two children said that they were in the park to catch their fun for the Christmas.
“Whether fuel or no fuel, life goes on. The kids need to have fun, that is why we are here. We cannot dull ourselves in the house because of fuel scarcity.
“It is a season to celebrate. Though it is not easy because things are hard now, but then the kids have to catch their fun.
“It is our duty as parents to bring them to the parks for the Christmas to make them happy,” Anchor said.
Another fun seeker, Abdullahi Usman, a resident and a Muslim said that he was in the park with his wife and two children to celebrate the Christmas.
“Even though I am a Muslim, we are all one Nigeria. It is a public holiday, I cannot keep my children at home.
“We have to join the Christians in the parks to also enjoy ourselves.
“Even with the fuel scarcity, you can see a lot of people in the park catching their fun. We thank God for everything,” Usman said.
Mr Kingsley Joseph, who sells ‘Cutting Candy’ said patronage has been encouraging adding that “I foresee high sales.”
Malam Abdullahi Garba also know as ‘Baba Dogo,’ Manager of the park expressed satisfaction with the level of patronage.
“God is wonderful; I never thought large number of people will come out today because of the fuel scarcity, but you can see for yourself, crowd are trooping in.
“If you pray and leave the rest to God, He will surprise you. Nigeria is blessed. However, we need to pray for our leaders and also contribute our individual quota to nation building.
“Let us also pray to God to soften the heart of our leaders, who do not see the sufferings of the people.
“I want to thank the media and the security agencies that are helping in enlightening and protecting the people,” Garba said.
The situation was not different at the Millennium Park, located near Transcorp Hilton in Maitama where fun seekers were also having fun.
NAN observed that due to the large crowd, fun seekers had to queue to enter the park with security personnel carrying out screening at the gate.
Mrs Barbra Timothy, a petty trader from Garki II in company of her four children brought food, drinks and a music player to catch their fun.
“My brother, today is Christmas, we need to thank God for life and also enjoy the life in the park.
“As you can see, we are ready to catch our fun. Even though fuel is scarce, it did not show in the park because you can see people in their hundreds coming to have fun here.
“However, we must not also forget the reason for the season. It is all about love, but you need to love yourself to know how to love others.
“We are here. Let the fun begin. Thank you my brother,” Timothy said.
Malam Bala Abubakar, a horse ride service provider said that he charged two hundred naira for a ride while one hundred naira was for a snapshot.
According to him, there is high patronage by fun seekers in the park.
“I am very busy with fun seekers wanting to ride while others want to mount and take pictures. Business is going on fine.”