By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- MINISTER of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, Tuesday assured the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Commission for Africa UNWTO – CAF, that the city was prepared to play host to its 61st International Conference scheduled for Abuja, 1st to 6th of June 2018.
Speaking in Abuja when he received a delegation from the Ministry of Information and Culture, led by its Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Bello expressed delight over the choice of Abuja as host city saying that the event fits well into the drive of the FCT Administration to make Abuja a global tourism and conference destination.
The FCTA Minister who commended Lai Mohammed for the hard work in successfully securing the hosting right for the meeting, said that it was a reflection of how the outer world now perceives the country, as well as an eloquent indication of the fact that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is getting it right.
The FCTA minister said , “For Nigeria to win the hosting right must have entailed a lot of hard work. This is very commendable. These are all reflections of how the outer world now perceives Nigeria. It’s a reflection that this government is getting it right and it’s something that we all feel proud of.
“With respect to the conference, we are going to give maximum support to this conference because it showcases Nigeria and, above all, it showcases Abuja and it fits into our programme of working to position the city as a conference destination. Giving Abuja’s beauty, good road network, serenity and security we can boldly say that Abuja is ready for the tourism world.”
Bello who pledged the support of the FCT Administration, disclosed that a team headed by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa has been working to ensure a hitch free conference in liaison with conference’s local organization committee.
He said, “Naturally, we will host the dinner and we will provide buses for all the delegates. Of course, we will also provide 24-hour security. Above all, you’ve made this country proud and we will support for a successful hosting.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the team was in the FCT to kick-start the series of visits and advocacies to key stakeholders in regard to Nigeria’s hosting of the first meeting of the UNWTO – CAF.
Lai Mohammed said, “As the host minister of this conference, that makes it imperative for us to make your office as the first point of call. Mr. President has accepted very graciously to personally declare the meeting open and that makes Mr. President the first person to be invited. With this visit, the Minister of the FCT has become the second person to be invited.”
According to the Information Minister, the global tourism body unanimously gave Nigeria the hosting right for the meeting during its last meeting in Addis Ababa in April 2017, adding, “The meeting we are planning to host is very important. UNWTO, which is the custodian of the meeting has a global membership of 158 members, six associated members and several associate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
“UNWTO also comprises six regional commissions with the Commission for Africa to which Nigeria belongs being the largest with 51 Ministers.
“The Meeting will be attended mostly by delegations from 51-member states of CAF which is the acronym for the Commission for Africa as against the Confederation for African Football Federation. A 13-member technical team will be here by the end of this month to commence preparations.
The Information minister disclosed that for Nigeria, this is a good opportunity as it would put the country under a global focus and attract socio economic gains, while placing Nigeria and the nation’s tourism industry in particular, on the world map.
In the same vein the meeting provides the country an opportunity to showcase itself to the world, especially in the area of culture and tourism, stressing that Nigeria has a lot to show, namely, our tourist attractions, rich culture as well as music and films which have taken the world by storm.