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166 Delegates, 26 Ministers, Others Arrive Abuja For UNWTO



No fewer than 166 foreign delegates, 26 ministers and 332 Nigerian delegates, excluding local and foreign pressmen have arrived Abuja Nigeria, for the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organizations-Commission.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja yesterday ahead of the meeting, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed expressed optimism that infrastructural projects embarked on by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will help sustain the nation’s tourism sector.

He averred that tourism is the future of the nation, adding that without investing massively in infrastructural projects such potentials won’t be unlocked.

Mohammed said that hosting the UNWTO conference will also help to showcase the rich and diverse culture of the nation.

He noted that it is a common knowledge that culture drives tourism, adding that the meeting would be used to showcase the rich and diverse culture of Nigeria.

According to him, “The aim of this meeting is to put tourism on the first burner in the country.

“We believe by investing massively in infrastructural projects it will boost the nation’s tourism.

“We have invested massively in infrastructure, without infrastructure development you won’t unlock tourism potentials.

“We are all set to host the best UNWTO-CAF Meeting ever. All the necessary preparations have been made to ensure this. The main committee, as well as the many sub-committees, have worked tirelessly to make this event a huge success. We also expect an impressive attendance.

“As at today, we have confirmation from 166 foreign delegates, 26 Ministers and 332 Nigerian delegates, excluding the gentlemen of the press. Several delegates have arrived and many more are expected in today.”

He also noted that the nation’s tourism potentials are enormous. He said that with a population of over 190 million and 774 local government, each ethnic group has its own unique story and history.

He said: “Some spectacular cultural events have thus been lined up for the meeting. At this evening’s cocktail, delegates will be treated to the Seki Dance Drama from the South-South, a spectacular and colourful show like no other.

“On Monday and Tuesday, the command performance of the globally-acclaimed ‘Fela and the Kalakuta Queens’ by Bolanle Austen-Peters will take the centre stage at the Gala Night. Words are not enough to describe this show.

“As you must be aware by now, the theme of the meeting is “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development’’. That theme fits very well into our quest to improve on our tourism statistics for planning purposes and the ultimate development of our tourism.

“Please permit me to most sincerely thank President Buhari for his invaluable support, without which this event would not have been possible. Thanks to the successes recorded by this administration in fighting insecurity, we are holding this global meeting here.

“Four years ago, hosting this event in Abuja would have been a pipe dream, considering the level of insecurity.

Remember that Boko Haram carried out many deadly attacks in this capital city. That is now history. Nigeria is safe and secure for its citizens and for foreign tourists and investors. Whatever pockets of criminal acts that exist are being addressed squarely.

The Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili noted that with the meeting Nigeria has taken the world by storm.

He expressed optimism that the meeting will bring about positive growth and development in the country tourism sector.

Danbatta To Be Inducted Fellow Nigeria Academy Of Engineering

Another feather will be added to the academic cap of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, as the Nigeria Academy of Engineering, the apex engineering body in the country is set to induct him into the exclusive elite group.

Danbatta will be inducted as a fellow of the Academy on June 21, 2018, just some 48 hours before he receives an honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Jos.

Fielding questions from newsmen at the NCC’s Headquarters, Prof Fola Lasisi, the Vice President of the Academy who led other distinguished professors to a courtesy call on Danbatta, said that the addition of the NCC boss to the body is a testimony to the quality leadership that the NCC is blessed with.

“We want to show that Nigerian Communications Commission has always had very brilliant people at the top. Engr. Ernest Ndukuwe was also one of us and became a fellow when he was here. Prof Danbatta continues in the same way, so we want to congratulate him and tell him that we appreciate his becoming a Fellow,” he noted.

Similarly, Danbatta who also fielded questions from newsmen, however, lauded what he described as the tradition of excellence in the Commission, adding that his induction as a fellow of the Academy will be a big honour to the regulatory agency.

“We acknowledge this recognition as a great honour to the Nigerian Communications Commission, and the EVC/CEO. I, therefore, pledge to continue to impact in a way and manner that will lead to the transformation of the industry, its stability, resilience and general contribution to the economy,” he stressed.

Speaking further, Danbatta said that the NCC would continue with the same culture of support and cooperation with the Academy.

“We will leverage the experience of the Fellows of the Academy and bring this to bear in improving Quality of Service. You know the Quality of Service is normally measured, using 4 key performance indicators, and we believe that more additional indicators can be brought in to improve the Quality of Service further,” he explained.

He said the Academy can also lend its voice on the issues of right of way, multiple taxations, and multiple regulations to ensure that all the non technical factors that affect the quality of service are tackled.

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