Nigeria’s tourism potentials need to be explored to create jobs, achieve inclusiveness and address youth restiveness, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said.
He said this in Abuja on Monday when he received a delegation from the Nasarawa State Government that came to seek support for the development of tourism sites.
The Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, led the delegation.
Mohammed, who thanked the delegation for the visit, added that it also underlined the importance Nasarawa State attaches to culture and tourism.
He said, ”We can avoid a lot of youth restiveness if we take advantage of tourism because tourism in its own right can create jobs and create leisure and bring unity and understanding among the people. We look at tourism in Nigeria as the panacea to poverty, as one industry that can bring inclusiveness and it is targeted largely at women and the youth.”
The Minister also expressed delight at the award of a contract by the Nasarawa State Government to construct the road leading to the Farin Ruwa Waterfalls, Nigeria’s highest waterfall.
He said it would complement the contract earlier awarded by the Federal Government for the construction of the Farin Ruwa Dam for the provision of water and electricity, as well as the construction of the road leading to the dam.
“You can see that with the combined efforts of the Federal Government and the State Government, that key element, which is always missing in tourism development, infrastructure, has been addressed,” the Minister said.
Mohamed also hailed the state government’s plan to build a Film Village at the Farin Ruwa Waterfalls, noting that its scenic beauty would attract filmmakers, local and international tourists.
In his remarks, the Nasarawa State Deputy Governor observed that tourism, which is a low hanging fruit for job creation, is being neglected and relegated to the background in Nigeria.
He sought the support of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture towards exploring and exploiting the vast tourism potentials of Nasarawa State, especially the Farin Ruwa Waterfalls because of its potential to attract tourists.
The Commissioner for Information, Dogo Shama; ex-Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hajia Lantana Ahmed, and the Convener of the Annual Nasarawa Festival, A. Y. Bello, among others, accompanied Dr Akabe.