By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the successful, two-week tour of cultural heritage and historic sites across the country by local and foreign bikers, under the auspices of the Latin America Motorcycles Association (LAMA), is an affirmation that Nigeria is now safe for tourism and business.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Monday at a ceremony to mark the end of the tour that took them to eight states covering four geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“From the report that I have received, this tour is a great success. It is also an attestation to the fact that Nigeria is indeed a safe destination for tourists and business people alike. Yes, there are security challenges here and there – and this is not peculiar to Nigeria. But our country is safer today than it was before the advent of this Administration in 2015, thanks to the political will shown by the Administration and the commitment of our security agencies,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the bikers who crisscrossed Nigeria by road all returned to Abuja, the starting point of the tour, safe and sound and will be in a better position to tell the world the situation in the country.
“They are not armchair analysts or critics. They are practical men and women who zoomed across the country on their power bikes. No one can tell the story better than them. And the feedback we have received is overwhelmingly positive,” he said.
The Minister said the tour, which he flagged off in Abuja on 23rd of October 2018, took the bikers to Niger, Kogi, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Oyo and Lagos as well as the FCT.
He listed some of the sites toured by the bikers as Gurara Falls in Niger; The coal city of Enugu; the Millennium Park, Slave History Museum and Tinapa Lake Resort in Cross River; the National Museum in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; the National Museum and other sites in Benin in Edo State; the ancient city of Ibadan in Oyo State; Lagos Mega City and many sites in the FCT.
In his remarks, the President of LAMA, Mr. Mario Nieves, described the tour as an ”incredible experience”, saying he discovered that contrary to what is being portrayed by European historians, Africa has a ”beautiful history” and an ”incredible civilization”.
“There are many people in this world who are trying to hide our history but one thing I learnt here and in South America is that our history has been hidden from us.
“They taught us all Africans were always in the bush. They had no history, they don’t write, they don’t do anything and the same thing with South Americans and North Americans, the Indians, the Azteca that all these people they are animals and they had nothing. No! We had an incredible civilization and we have been lied to,” he said.
Mr. Nieves described the tour as a ”trip of a lifetime” and that he was practically blown away by the sheer discovery of history, saying Africa is indeed the cradle of civilization.
While thanking the Minister for giving them such a lifetime opportunity to discover the history of their roots, particularly those of them from the Caribbean, Mr. Nieves urged government at all levels to continue to promote history.
He also conferred an honorary membership on the Minister, saying he is the 11th honorary member of LAMA in the 41-year history of the organisation.