The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the present administration’s efforts at improving security and upgrading infrastructure is a deliberate policy to promote tourism in Nigeria.
The Minister, who stated this when he received the Secretary-General of the D-8, Mr. Dato’ Ku Jafafar Ku Shaari, on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that without the provision of security and critical infrastructure, tourism development will remain a mirage.
“Without peace and security, the best tourist attractions will be inaccessible to anybody. As a matter of fact, without peace and security and stability, travel advisories will actually discourage or even prohibit tourists from coming into those areas and the people don’t invest really in the areas where there is instability or insecurity. That is why the government has made it a cardinal principle to address the issue of insecurity in the country,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said in spite of the recent setbacks in the fight against insurgency in the country, the government has succeeded in banishing Boko Haram to the fringes of Lake Chad, from where they carry out cowardly attacks.
He said before the advent of the Buhari Administration, a large chunk of Nigeria’s territory, including 20 out of the 27 Local Government Areas in Borno State, was under the effective control of Boko Haram.
The Minister also said before the Administration assumed office, Boko Haram could stroll into the Federal Capital Territory to carry out deadly attacks, but that the reverse is the case now.
“Today after three years, we have had no single incident of any insurgency in Abuja or its environs,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said President Buhari has succeeded in mobilizing regional support to ensure the comprehensive defeat of Boko Haram in the Sahel Region.
On the provision of infrastructure, he said the Administration has invested N2.7 trillion in infrastructure within two years.
“Your Excellency, you cannot have tourism without infrastructure. There must be roads, airports, power. Without these things, you can’t even access the tourist attractions and it’s on record that this government has in the last two years – 2016-2017 – invested massively in infrastructure,” he said.
The Minister assured that Nigeria is poised to take advantage of its membership of the D-8 to advance its tourism sector.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General of D-8 said he and his team were in the ministry to secure the input of the government towards the development of a strategic vision on how member countries can share experiences and knowledge on tourism.
“The purpose of our visit today to the ministry is to learn from the government and the ministry in all the activities in respect of culture and tourism and where we can connect as an organisation,” he said.
He commended the Nigerian government for its efforts towards the development of tourism, especially the provision of security and critical infrastructure as well as the introduction of Visa On Arrival for tourists.