By Justina Okpanku
“We have so much that the world wants to see. We have stories that the world wants to hear.” Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed expressed this view just as he is talking serious tourism now. The APC,the ruling political party in Nigeria) chieftain is believed to be too busy to pay adequate attention to the tourism sub-sector. He is just back from Marrakech, Morocco where he attended a meeting on Sustainable Tourism on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change conference.
Mohammed doubles as Tourism minister so he was able to join African Ministers of Tourism at the conference.
He said: ”With all modesty, the present administration in my country has been
working hard to move tourism from the margins to the mainstream, especially because tourism has been identified as one of the sectors upon which the government’s economic diversification is anchored.” Adding: “The challenge for us is to leverage our huge diversity to make
tourism the next oil in Nigeria,” he said.
Special Adviser to the Minister of Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi quoted the minister in a press statement that the present Administration is reviving the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) to drive the development of tourism in the country.
Already, he said, the Steering Committee of the PCT has met to prepare
the agenda for the PCT, which is expected to meet very soon and be presided
over by the President.
The minister also said that since tourism cannot thrive without
security, transparency and good infrastructure, the government is investing in massive infrastructural development (roads, rail, power, etc, adding: ”Security has improved
drastically, especially in the North-east where Boko Haram has been decimated.”
”The government also puts a lot of premium on transparency, which is
required for boosting investor confidence and encouraging tourism. The fight
against corruption has been ratcheted up, and no one is deemed to be a sacred cow as far
as the fight against corruption is concerned,” he said