Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, on Saturday urged the Federal Government to create a separate Ministry of Tourism to enable the industry thrive better.
Ojo-Lanre made the call during an online tourism zoom meeting with the theme:” Post COVID-19: A Fresh Start for Tourism in Nigeria”, organised by the Nigeria Travel Week and Travelscope Magazine.
He said that the tourism industry had only enjoyed minimal attention from the government because it had been merged with information.
He noted that this was neccesssary to harness the full potential of the industry for revenue generation.
The D-G also called for the establishment of a legal framework for the industry which would spell out the jurisdiction of all practitioners in the industry.
He said this would give room for a more organised industry whereby the practitioners and government would know their limit.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to look into this issue of tourism being merged with information sector.
“We need a separate tourism ministry and the establishment of a legal framework to make the industry flourish.
“Tourism cannot work without legal framework, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has been working with an archaic military degree put in place over 40 years now.
“No tourism association or organisation has legal backing, when the legal framework is in place, investors will not exercise fear to commit their finances to tourism growth in any community,” he said.
“Ekiti State is ready to receive tourists and investors, government is ready and willing to provide the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“Ekiti is a paragon of tourism activities, we have the home of Ifa, Osun and Ogun in Ekiti State where people can familiarise themselves with history.
“We have lots of tourists sights like the Ikogosi Warm Spring, Arinta Waterfall, Olosunta Hill, Esa Cave, mountains and hills good for hiking,” he said.
Olowu condoles with COAS, says Col. Bako’s death a national tragedy
Oba Adekunle Oyelude, the Olowu of Kuta in Ayedire Local Government area of Osun, has described the death of Col. Dahiru Bako as a national tragedy.
The Olowu, in a statement on Tuesday, said he received the news with shock and deep sorrow.
The monarch, therefore, condoled with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, and the entire Nigerian Army on the loss.
He stated: “The fact that the Colonel was said to have died in an ambush called for concern because an ambush suggested that the enemy knew of the movement by the officers and men.”
Oyelude prayed for the repose of the soul of the dead and called on Borno elders and Nigerians in general to actively support the efforts of the military in order to put an end to insurgency
According to the monarch, enough is enough.
The Olowu Kuta suggested the use of locals for credible intelligence, adding that anyone caught spying on troops should be treated like mutineers.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Wale Ojetimi
FCTA reiterates commitment to job creation through agriculture value chain
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to job creation through agriculture value chain.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, gave the assurance at the launch of the public sales of subsidised buffer stock grains and distribution of motorcycles to agriculture extension agents, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the buffer stock comprised 7,200 bags of maize and 2,500 bags of guinea corn sold at half of their current market value.
Aliyu disclosed that a number of local and multi-national companies were in the process of finalising investment commitments in various agricultural value chains within the FCT.
She also maintained that the decisions of multi-national companies and Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to invest in FCT would help boost productivity and integrate production, processing, distribution and most importantly, create jobs and wealth for the teeming youths.
The minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his foresight in giving administrative backing toward strengthening local capacities in food production.
She added that the FCT administration had placed priority on the agricultural sector in order to unlock its abundant potentials.
“It is in heeding to this clarion call that the FCT administration has been making efforts to open-up the agricultural landscape and attract suitable investments.
“I make bold to say that our efforts are beginning to yield the desired results.
“We are currently engaged in the process of fine-tuning discussions with AfDB toward the smooth take-off of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ), as well as the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
“This is in addition to a number of local and multi-national companies that are in the process of finalising investment commitments in various agricultural value chains within the FCT,” she said.
In a related development, the minister also flagged off the harvest and sales of products at FCT Aquaculture and Allied Trades centre for youth and women in Kwali area council.
Aliyu revealed that the project was conceived to address problems of poverty by creating viable sources of livelihood, especially for the less privileged members of the society.
Earlier, the Acting Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr Ibe Prospect, had stressed that the buffer stock programme was an initiative that seeks to ensure the availability of agricultural produce to the public at affordable rate.
He assured residents of the FCT of the administration’s continued commitment to quality service delivery while urging them to cooperate with the committee toward a smooth conduct of the sales exercise.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin
Navy deploys 6 warships for special military operation in 4 states
The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships, including 60 gunboats, in a special military exercise to tackle pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalities in the nation’s waters.
Rear Adm. David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, announced the deployment at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the operation was code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ meaning ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.
Adeniran said that the two-day exercise, aimed at consolidating on similar Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II, would hold on the territorial waters of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers states, under the ENC.
“Exercise Sanga Sung is one of the numerous operational engagements that the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) is currently undertaking to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment.
“The purpose of the exercise is to check the state of preparedness of our fleets and training of our personnel,” said the naval chief.
He said that personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Immigration Service and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would also participate in the exercise.
Others are the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Customs Service.
“The other security agencies are participating in the exercise knowing that safety and security of our maritime environment cannot be provided by a single security agency.
“Also, there are so many personnel involved in this exercise from our naval headquarters, Defence headquarters, Western Naval Command and Central Naval Command, among others.
“However, physically on ground, we have six major ships that would be going out to sea as well as 60 gunboats participating in Exercise Sanga Sung,”he added.
The FOC said that Operation “Bekan Mmon” conducted in 2018 and 2019 recorded successes, including the arrest of over 600 suspected oil thieves and pirates and the destruction of over 200 illegal refining sites.
According to him, no fewer than 11,000 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil as well as over 15,000 metric tonnes of illegally refined diesel were recovered during the exercise.
“In addition, we also intercepted and recovered about 25,000 bags of 50 kilogramme of par boiled rice during Exercise Bekan Mmon I and II.
“So, going by the successes, it became imperative that we consolidate on the gains recorded with exercise Sanga Sung,” the FOC added.
Adeniran called for the support of stakeholders to ensure a secured and peaceful maritime environment and warned criminals to desist from maritime crimes.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi
Obiano inaugurates 18-member task force on human trafficking, irregular migrationar migration
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has expressed concern over the growing number of indigenes falling victim of human trafficking in the state.
He spoke on Tuesday in Awka during the inauguration of an 18-member task force to curb human trafficking and irregular migration in the state.
Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solomon Chukwulobelu, described the development as “a serious subject matter in the state which we are already aware of.
“The trend seems to be growing that occasionally, the matter comes up at the state Security Council meeting,” he said.
He recalled that efforts were made in the past to receive evacuated indigenes of the state in Lagos and Port-Harcourt, who were rescued and repatriated back to Nigeria from different countries.
According to him, they were later rehabilitated and reintegrated successfully into society.
Obiano lauded the efforts of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and pledged to donate a property to serve as the state command of the agency.
In a remark, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, described human trafficking and irregular migration as a national concern with a large number of Nigerians trapped in other African and European countries.
“This is apart from hundreds that continue to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea,” Okah-Donli said.
She said that more worrisome was the case of young girls, being trafficked from the South-East and neighbouring states to Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries in the West African sub-region.
She said that 528 indigenes of Anambra were rescued by NAPTIP between 2004 and July 2020, consisting of 426 females and 102 males.
Okah-Donli said the victims were mostly from Onitsha North and South, Anambra East, Anaocha, Awka North and South, Idemili North and South Local Government Areas.
“These victims were subjected to child labour, domestic servitude, recruitment for foreign travels, sexual exploitation and sales of babies.
“Between 2017 and 2020, the International Orgaisation for Migration (IOM) returned 34 indigenes of the state from various parts of the world, comprising 29 females and five males,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss, therefore, said the task force had a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation at the grassroots and among vulnerable groups providing services and support to victims.
She, however, called for strong political will and budgetary provisions by the state government, in addition to the commitment of traditional institutions, religious and community leaders to deal with the phenomenon.
Also, Mrs Ruth Mbugua, the Protection Officer of IOM, said coordination and operationalisation of the task force was key to tackling human trafficking.
Mbugua said her office had supported the establishment of six task forces in Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states since January.
“Task forces create a strategic, coordinated and collaborative framework for a more effective response to trafficking in persons,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the task force were drawn from the Police, Civil Society Organisatiosn, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and youth groups.
Others were individuals from rights groups, Ministries of Women Affairs and Justice as well as offices of the SSG and Government House.
Responding, Dr Obianuju Nwogu, the Attorney-General of the state and Chairman of the task force, pledged the commitment of the state judiciary to the fight.
“We have able lawyers and we are expanding the number for the purposes of this job.
“We have all the apparatuses it will take, including regular courts, the Child’s Right Courts and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to carry out the task,” she said.
Nwogu, who is also the state Commissioner for Justice, was represented by Mrs Ngozi Iwouno, the Director, Civil Litigation.
Earlier, NAPTIP was received by Mr Benjamin Okoye, the Traditional Prime Minister of Awka, when the group paid a courtesy visit to Obi Gibson Nwosu, the Traditional Ruler of Awka Kingdom.
Edited By: Sam Oditah