The Federal Government says that the country is safe to host the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry scheduled for Nov. 14 to Nov. 17 in Lagos.
The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said on Friday in Abuja.
Recall that Nigeria was given the hosting right for the maiden global event by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at a meeting held at the organization’s headquarters in Madrid Spain on April 19.
Mohammed said the insinuation in certain quarters that participants and tourists would not attend the conference because of stories of killings and kidnappings in the country are erroneous.
“The security challenges Nigeria is facing did not start today and I must say the Federal Government is rising very stoutly to it.
“We cannot say just because we have insecurity challenge, other sectors of the economy should not be developed.
The minister said that insecurity is a global challenge and countries with a worse situation than Nigeria were developing their tourism potential.
“Britain for instance, for more than 40 years, was in the grip of the IRA and that did not prevent the country from hosting global events.
“I recalled that even before the call for the peace process in June 1997, Britain bided for the world cup 1996 which, though they lost.
“During our meeting in Spain, there was no issue raised on insecurity in Nigeria as a barrier
“On the contrary, the UNWTO was even expanding the scope of the conference and they did not make a mistake in choosing Nigeria to host the maiden conference,’’ he said.
“what we are saying is that we have security challenges which we are facing squarely, but it is not enough reason why we should not develop the areas of the economy wherein particular we are making waves.
“The Whiz Kid of this world, the Burna Boy, Davido, and Tiwa Savage have really shown the world that Nigeria is a hub of the creative industry.
“Hosting this conference is an affirmation of huge Nigeria’s contributions to the creative industry and the recognition that Nigeria is the hub of the creative industry in Africa,’’ he said.
The minister also countered the argument that the government was not developing the nation’s tourism potential enough.
According to him, one of the most important areas of developing the tourism industry is by building infrastructure.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration can beat its chest and that as a government, it had done very well in infrastructure development.
“We have constructed many roads, renovated, remodeled, and upgraded our airports and we have for the first time revived the rail sector.
“All these will help interconnectivity and for people to move from one place to the other.
“We have also made a lot of milestones in providing regulations and policies that will aid the promotion of the tourism sector.
“For instance, the Revised Broadcasting Code is to give Nigeria a pride of place in the film and music industry,’’ he said.
Mohammed reiterated the readiness of Nigeria to host the event come November at the National Theatre in Lagos, currently being renovated at a cost of 100 million dollars made available by the Bankers’ Committee and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).