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South Africa remains open for visitors —  Tourism minister



Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, South Africa Minister of Tourism and Mr Darkey Africa, South Africa Consul General during a session with the Nigerian tourism stakeholders held at Wheatbakers Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos

Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, on Thursday called on Nigerians to continue visiting the country as the rainbow nation remained open for visitors from across the globe.

Kubayi-Ngubane made the call during an engagement session with Nigerian tourism stakeholders in Lagos against the backdrop of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

She said that there was great need to advance bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa in the creative industry to achieve remarkable success for the two nations and the African continent.

The minister said South Africa regretted the situation, acknowledging that such attacks had happened in the past and the authorities had taken steps to ensure it was not repeated.

“I want you all to know that South Africa is open for visitors from Nigeria and other parts of the world as against insinuations by many that the country is repelling visitors.

“Friendship between South Africa and Nigeria precedes South Africa’s democracy. We didn’t achieve our democracy on our own; we stood on the shoulders of many African nations who fought with us to achieve the democracy we enjoy today.

“To ensure this does not reoccur, the President has appointed a former President of Tanzania and Mozambique as part of the people to find lasting solutions to the problem,” she said.

Kubayi-Ngubane, while acknowledging the visa procurement challenges faced by applicants, said that the country was working on establishing an Electronic Visa application system to be ready for use within the first quarter of 2020.

She said this would fast track the duration for visa procurement.

“We are piloting an E-visa application system to be rolled out early 2020, this means anyone who needs a visa to come to South Africa will be able to do that within the comfort of their homes to apply online.

“If the documents are vetted and certified correct within few days an applicant will get response for visa approval,” she said.

The minister said another problem confronting the country was the presentation of fraudulent documents for visa procurement which delayed the process as huge number of people engaged in this.

She said that South Africa visa fee has not been increased since 2016 which was deliberate to ensure affordability for those that want to visit the country.

Mr Darkey Africa, South Africa’s Consul General in Lagos, said that the country was committed to reuniting the two countries through proper exploration of the tourism industry.

He said the countries must be united in purpose to achieve remarkable growth.

“We want to see movies where Nigerians and South Africans will collaborate to produce, speaking in their unique and distinct accents to tell the world that we have greater things for the future of the two countries and Africa.

“We have enjoyed one another’s friendship for long, we have had cases of countless inter-marriages. This should continue as we explore more together.

“So, there is nothing to be scared of visiting South Africa. It is open for all,” he said.

Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi


Sanwo-Olu’s aides decry low production of coconuts in Badagry



Ms Abisola Olusanya, the Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos on Agriculture has decried the low production of coconuts in Badagry, Lagos.

Olusanya spoke at the Celebration of 2019 Coconut Festival tagged “Agunfest” held at Suntan Beach, Badagry on Saturday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the festival is: “Coconut Production and Utilisation; Dealing with Current Imperatives in view of Border closure’’.

According to her, just recently, the Federal Government ordered the closure of the entire country’s borders as one of the ways of patronising local produce goods and services to save foreign earnings.

“One of the consequences of enforcement of border closure is the overzealousness of some security operatives who have been allegedly reported to be harassing local producers and marketers of coconuts.

“The seizure of coconuts, harassment of local producers and marketers within this area is having adverse effects on local production of coconuts.

“There is need for a comprehensive and robust stakeholders’ engagement along coconut value chain so as to ensure that the good policy of the Federal Government on border closure will not impact negatively on coconut economy.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) are working closely with other stakeholders toward proffering lasting solutions to the lingering crisis currently affecting the downstream sector of Coconut Value Chain,” she said.

Adesanya said that the government had been involved in rehabilitation of the coconut belt; massive production of improved seedlings; capacity building and empowerment of the value chain; and encouragement of proliferation of coconut cottage.

“We are doing these and more in a bid to encourage private investors to come and invest in the state,’’ she added.

She said that the administration of Gov. Sanwo-Olu had reiterated its commitment to support coconut farmers, processors, marketers, haulage operators, producers on food security, job and wealth creation with active involvement of private sector.

Mr Solomon Bonu, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, said that the state government had set up a committee to look into continuous seizure of coconuts in Badagry.

Bonu noted that the governor had written letters to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly (NASS) on the matter.

According to him, coconut cannot be separated from Badagry because Badagry is coconut and coconut is Badagry.

Mr Dapo Olakulehin, the General Manager, Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) said the usefulness of coconut could not be over-emphasised.

According to him, it is perhaps the most useful tree in the world because of the wide range of products.

“It grows naturally along the coastal terrain and cultivated in about 92 countries of the world including India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri-lanka, Nigeria, among other countries.

“Seventy per cent of the total production from Nigeria is produced in Lagos State and ranks Nigeria 17th in the World Coconut producing countries.

“The state is naturally blessed with vast coconut belt embedded with abundance of coconut resources and it has advantages over other crops in the country.

“It has about two million trees with annual production of 200 million husked nuts. Also about 20,000 farming families derive their livelihood from it and the number increases daily,” he said.

In his welcome address, Mr Doheto Mesi, the President, African Coconut Heritage Initiatives (ACHI) said the awareness for coconut utilisation and commercialisation was definitely on the increase across Nigeria.

“The current deficit in production is worrisome and poses a situation of severity in nearest future if the production capacity of coconut is not increased.

“The low production capacity of coconut in Nigeria led to massive and uncontrollable importation from neighbouring African countries like Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo.

“The current severe scarcity of coconut in Badagry presently necessitated by the current border closure also pointed to the fact about low production capacity of Nigeria,” he said.

Mesi urged government agencies, NGOs, Coconut Associations, private investors, schools and communities to come together to take steps to reverse the current trend to meet up the growing demand.

Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi



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Runsewe commends NCAA over initial suspension of Turkish Airline



Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC),  on Saturday  commended the Nigerian  Civil Aviation Authority,(NCAA),for its initial suspension of Turkish Airlines from Nigeria airspace over repeated cases of poor passenger treatment.

The Nigeria News Agency  reports that this was contained in a statement issued in Lagos,  by Runsewe’s Media Aide, Mr Frank Meke.

He described the NCAA’s intervention  as bold and courageous, adding that time had come for all foreign airlines and other service providers in Nigeria to respect and treat Nigerians decently.

He said  though the suspension had been replaced with a warning, the initial act would make huge impact on service delivery  from other foreign airlines.

” The strong statements and punitive measures rolled out by NCAA will serve as a deterrent to other airlines operating in Nigeria, who only believe that Nigerians’ money is their prime focus and not service to the people.

” I wish to align myself with this courageous and bold statement by NCAA, suspending Turkish Airline from flying into Nigeria.

” I pray that other arms of government with oversight functions over foreign service institutions and operators, should boldly come out to protect Nigerians from foreign organisations which must treat us with respect,” he said.

NAN reports that NCAA, after rrceiving several complaints from Nigerian travelling public, rolled out the decision to suspend Turkish airline, for alleged repeated cases of poor passenger treatment.

withdrawn, while the airline was warned to improve on its services henceforth.

Runsewe said that his agency would collaborate with other Federal Government institutions to ensure that Nigerians are protected and the culture of the people respected.

He said he was expecting justice to play out in another case of a foreign airline which the Supreme Court of Nigeria, recently found guilty of de-boarding a Nigerian student.

According to him, the court ruled that the aircraft of that airline must be impounded if they disregarded order to pay relevant fines to the students and his family.

” As much as we want to see foreigners do business in Nigeria, it must be done within the ambience of the law and the international best practices.

” I find it very sad and disturbing that most of these foreign operators will  obey the laws of their lands but will come to Nigeria to take advantage  of our people.

” I think that  the time has come for us to demand that the laws of Nigeria be respected and our people given the utmost respect from the operators of these foreign airlines,” he said.

Runsewe, also the President, African Region for the World Craft Council, (WCC),  called for a speedy restoration of indigenous national airline, in order to arrest this uncomplimentary attitude to Nigerians.

He called on Nigerians to be bold to report any undignifying attitude, and lack of courtesy from any international airline operator to relevant  the authorities.


Edited by: Ariwodola Idowu/ Peter Dada


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Practitioner stresses professionalism in hospitality industry



A practitioner in hospitality sector, Mr Ibrahim Baba, has called on those dreaming making career in the industry to acquire skills that would make them professionals in order to move it forward.

Buba, who is Head of Hospitality, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said on such persons could leverage on the opportunity of the institute to leverage of the various courses being run by institute to acquire the requisite knowledge to perform better and grow the industry.

NIHOTOUR runs various courses ranging from post graduate diploma in hospitality management to innovative diplomas and various certificates in hospitality.

The idea is to see how we can effectively bridge the gap between those that belong and those that do no to belong.

Research has shown that there are people whose specialisation is not really hospitality, but they find themselves working in the industry.

They can professionalise in the hospitality industry by enrolling in the post graduate programme in NIHOTOUR.

At the end of their programme, they must have acquired enough skills to fit into the industry,’’ he said.

He said that the innovative diploma was designed to impact practical knowledge on the students.

“We understand that players in the industry require technical skills and the curriculum is focused more on practical.

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

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FG to establish community museums to boost tourism – Lai Mohammed



The Federal Government has announced plans to establish community museums as part of efforts to ensure that local communities benefit from tourism.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the plan on Thursday at the ongoing 4th World World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Kyoto, Japan.

A statement on the event was made available to newsmen in Abuja by Mr. Segun Adeyemi,

Special Assistant to the President (Media) Office of the Minister of Information and Culture

”In Nigeria, we observed that tourists stay in the big cities when they visit.

‘They visit the museums in the cities where objects gotten from different parts, including the rural areas, are displayed but they hardly go to the rural areas.

”To encourage tourists to visit the rural areas where money spent is quickly reflected in the local economy, we are trying to establish community museums,” the minister said.

According to Mohammed, the government will, in particular, encourage the establishment of palace museums.

”Parts of ancient residencies of traditional rulers and important chiefs are being turned to museums.

‘Thus, we are not limiting museums to the big cities. Money spent by tourists while visiting these rustic places stay longer in these areas.

Lamido Adamawa now has the Fombina Palace museum, just like the Emir of Potiskum has palace museum,” he said.

The Minister said the government, through high-level representation, training of festival managers and the provision of enabling environment, is supporting and promoting festivals and cultural tourism all over the country.

He said the programme would ultimately ensure that local communities benefitted.

The minister said that a national calendar of festivals would soon be unveiled to assist tourists who are coming to Nigeria in planning their visits.

He said that Nigeria has continued to leverage on the areas in which it enjoys comparative advantage, citing music, movies and fashion as some of such areas.

Mohammed served as one of the panellists at the Ministerial Segment of the conference, dedicated to discussing and exchanging policies and government models impacting the future of cultural tourism.

Edited by: Felix Ajide

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Expert harps on improving tourism sector



Mr Edwin Enenta, a tourism expert, has urged the Federal government to show more commitment to improve the tourism sector in order to tap inherent benefits from it.

Enenta, Head of Travel and Tourism Department, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), Abuja who gave the advice in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Abuja described tourism as a goldmine waiting to be tapped.

Tourism is a multifaceted and multidimensional activity. It is not just about fun; it is business and government should look at it as business.

It makes more money than most other industries.

Saudi Arabia has more oil than Nigeria, but what Saudi gets from “religious tourism“ is unquantifiable.

I want us to join hands to sell tourism because oil is finishing, and even where there is oil, there is usually crisis,’’ he said.

According to him, Nigeria is rich in tourist destination that can yield good return on investment.

Every local government area you go in Nigeria, there is an investible tourist potential and tourism is consumed at source.

Those sites, like beaches cannot be moved to other location, So, the local communities will always benefit.

It is the only viable alternative to oil and government should place more priority on tourism.

“ Countries like Kenya, Gambia are earning immense benefits from tourism, but Nigeria is even more endowed than these countries.’’

Ementa said that the mandate of NIHOTOUR was to raise manpower for the industry and make it more attractive.

The mandate of the institute is to raise manpower in the hospitality and tourism industry, to fill the gap.

The bane of the industry is lack of adequate manpower. In many hotels, you do not find career professionals. People usually start up with family and friends.

The burden is on us to sell tourism. Tourism, now, is the biggest employer of labour going by UN statistics,’’ he said.

He said that tourism might not be very quick on investment but overtime, it would overtake other businesses.

“ Nigeria is so endowed in tourism, looking at the cultural diversity and the natural environment.’’

Edited by: Dada Ahmed

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Artist explores animal kingdom setting to sensitise Nigerians on imbibing good morals



A Nigerian artist, Phillip Nzekwe, on Wednesday said that he used animals as figurative expressions in his art exhibition to sensitise viewers on imbibing good morals.


Nzekwe spoke to the Nigeria News Agency at the ongoing weeklong exhibition which started on Dec. 7 and would end on Dec. 14 in Lagos.


NAN reports that the exhibition divided into two series titled: `The Lazy Dog; Windows of the Soul and Curious Mind’ has `Raw Intuition’ as its theme.


The artist said that the work was as a result of his fascination for nature, animals, plants, architecture and colours.


He said that the dog figures were used to convey messages that would help people abide by laws and order, develop courage to face life challenges and avoid insecurity.


He said that another segment of the exhibition was to sensitise parents to discover the potential of their children early through close examination.


I use art to highlight issues that affect my daily life as an African. I know that artworks are to draw attention of the public to societal problems.


My works investigate the complex of human behavioural pattern emanating from the need to express their identities with the world.


Dogs and children are a case study for my intuitive study presented from my state of mind,” he said.


Nzekwe said that his artworks are made from concrete, wood fibre and other natural materials which would fascinate viewers.


He said that one of his works titled: “Two Captains in a Boat” expressed the insecurity faced by people in authority by the emergence of others.


The artist advised people to face challenges of life regardless of what it threw at them.


He urged parents to create adequate time for their children, read their feelings and discover their talents early in life in order to raise a complete child.


He called on Nigerians to visit the museum, get entertained and be educated about the exhibition and various works of art deposited there by several artists.


Edited by: Chinyere Bassey/Peter Dada



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Winner of Best Nigerian Tour Guide advises on research, development



The winner of Best Nigerian Tour Guide, Mr Anago Osho, on Tuesday urged tour guides in the country to

embrace  research and development to be able to relay unique stories of the nation to tourists.

Osho gave this advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

According to him, Nigerian tour guides should be committed to research, and  develop themselves to carry out their duties well.

He also urged governments  to train tour guides, who he described as ambassadors because of their  vital roles in attracting tourists.

“I will advise my colleagues to engage in constant research for their personal development to be able to relay history as it is.

“ Government at all levels should also look into training of tour guides on the history of their localities and ethics.

“This will enable them to woo more tourists into the country,” he said.

Osho, also President, West African Tour Guide Association, Nigeria Chapter, said that he would ensure exposure of more Nigerian tour guides to international trainings.

He said this would  help to ensure that Nigerian tour guides were equipped with detailed information as regards tour guiding.

According to him, the training is highly needed now that  Nigeria is exploring more means of income generation through the tourism industry.

“I will be making  impacts in ensuring that more Nigerian tour guides are exposed to International trainings to further equip them with necessary information they need to excel and place Nigeria on the tourism global map.

“I have received several commendations locally and Internationally but the award has only come to motivate me more to work harder in ensuring that the tourism industry is improved on,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Osho was awarded the best Nigerian tour guide by the Nigerian Travel Week Balearica awards (Nigeria Tourism Awards) on Nov, 22.

Osho, who had authored three books, `Lekeleke’, `How the Slave Trade Began’ and `The History of Seriki Williams Abass of Badagry’ said his fourth book will come out in 2020.

Edited by: Chidinma Agu/Ijeoma Popoola

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Ijakadi Festival in Offa will promote Nigeria on global tourism map – Organisers



Offa Descendants Union (ODU), the organisers of the annual `Ijakadi Festival’ in Offa, Kwara, on Monday said the annual cultural event had been fully transformed and capable of promoting Nigeria positively on the international tourism map.

Mr Maruf Ajenifuja, the National Public Relations Officer of ODU, made the assertion in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Offa, Kwara.

NAN reports that the 2019 Ijakadi Festival, the 8th in the series, will commence on Tuesday Dec. 24 with environmental sanitation and a special prayer in the community.

The festival, with the theme: “A Cultural Revival for Economic Growth”, will climax on Saturday Dec. 27 with the symbolic cutting of yam.

There will also be a royal novelty wrestling bout between the Olofa of Offa, Oba Muftau Gbadamosi and his Second-in-Command, Eesa of Offa, Alhaji Yunus Bukoye.

Ajenifuja said the over 600 year-old festival, which symbolises equality and fairness, had continued to promote the growth, progress and socio-economic development among the people of the community.

He said the festival had been transformed with unique side attractions, through private partnership participation, in adding the desired colour and glamour as an international tourism destination.

According to him, the Central Working Committee of the 2019 festival had unveiled a new logo as a way of projecting the community and showcase innovations that can unlock investment opportunities.

The ODU spokesman said the festival, like other recognised cultural events such as Osun Osogbo Festival, Eyo Festival in Lagos and the Argungu Fishing Festival in Kebbi, were veritable platforms toward diversifying the nation’s economy, if fully harnessed.

“The festival (Ijakadi) has brought an amazing sense of belonging among Offa indigenes and neighbours for cultural and socio-economic interaction, fostering unity and cohesiveness.

“The Ijakadi Festival of today is a clear departure from the yesteryears. It’s fully transformed in attracting the desired international recognition, investments and economic boost.

“In order to spice up Ijakadi festival, it has now been transformed “bigger and better” with a combination of colourful activities,’’ Ajenifuja said.

According to him, the Ijakadi festival annually features cultural parade by the six districts of Offa (Eesa, Ojomu, Balogun, Saawo, Asalofa and Igbodun) in their fabulous and arresting colours.

“The Arewa Offa Beauty Pageant competition; a Food Expo to showcase different food produce and products available in Offa Kingdom, especially sweet potato (the staple food of Offa people),

“Sport competitions, Moremi play, excursions to historical sites, poetry; and traditional wrestling competition.

“Other icings on the cake of the Ijakadi Festival are exhibitions by various cultural groups and paying of homage by district heads and their lieutenants to the Olofa.

“There will also be presentation of trophies with cash awards to the winners and runners-up in all competitions as well as participating districts.

“The zenith of the festival is the symbolic wrestling contest between the Olofa (King) and his deputy, the Eesa,” he said.

Edited by: Adeleye Ajayi


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Kwara lawmaker commends Lai Mohammed for uniting Igbomina people



Igbomina indigenes during Igbomina Day held at the National Theatre, Igamu, Lagos.


Kwara lawmaker commends Lai Mohammed for uniting Igbomina people


Lagos, Dec. 8, 2019 Mr Omotayo Awodiji, Member, Kwara House of Assembly, has commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for his efforts at uniting Igbomina people resident in Lagos.

Awodiji, representing Irepodun Constituency in Kwara House, gave the commendation during the 2019 Igbomina Day and N500million fund raising for Igbomina house in Lagos on Sunday.

He said that the minister, who is also an indigene of Igbomina, was committed to the unity of Igbomina indigenes and Nigerians as a whole.

“I want to sieze this opportunity to appreciate the minister for his commitment to uniting the Igbomina indigenes across the globe.

” He is always supporting our programmes,” he said.

Awodiji said that the proposed Igbomina house would help in rehabilitation of youths from the area.

He said that the house would also be used for skills acquisition and other developmental programmes for the Igbomina youths.

“The proposed Igbomina house will help us rehabilitate our youths and for empowerment programmes, we are focusing on the youths because building the youths means building the nation.

” The youths are the most vulnerable in the society; if we are able to take them off the street, make them responsible citizens this will be a good one for the nation and for Igbomina indigenes.

” We are enterprising, hardworking and conscious of our integrity which account for the reason we are not usually involved in questionable activities,” he said.

Awodiji urged every community in the country to help rehabilitate the youths in order to make the society a peaceful one.

Mr Idris Quadry, Chairman Omo Ibile Igbomina, Lagos State chapter, said that Igbomina people in Lagos were in dare need of a befitting house in Lagos to drive some cultural programmes.

” We need a befitting place for meeting,  to organise programmes for the promotion of our precious culture and to groom our youths in career talks and more.

“Most of our children cannot speak our indigenous languages, we want to encourage them to embrace their culture while we organise programmes that would help them.

“We want to try as much as possible to inspire the youths through beautiful programmes.

“The Igbomina house will be for the use of everyone even for generations unborn,” he said.

Quadry said that a good number of Igbomina indigenes had contributed to the economic growth of the nation and would want to encourage this as the youths would be groomed to live responsibly to contribute their own quota.

He said Igbomina indigenes were part of the Yoruba race found in Osun and Kwara states.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi

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