Removing obstructions for safe airspace - THE NATION
By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is set to build the data base on identification of obstruction to flight safety.
Its Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, who made this known, said the regulator was embarking on the programme as part of measures to promote air safety.
The data base, according to Nuhu, will assist the authority in identifying specific terrains and obstacles, which would pave the way for the commencement of helicopter night operations in the country.
Speaking at the gateway forum via Zoom in Lagos at the weekend, Capt. Nuhu said it was part of the NCAAâ€™s statutory responsibility to identify obstructions within and around the airports to ensure flight safety.
He noted that in the past all kinds of masts were erected within and around the airports constituting obstruction without clearance from the NCAA.
Nuhu said the regulator, has, however, directed those involved to obtain clearance height certificate before mounting their masts.
He said talks were on going with telecoms firms concerning payment of relevant charges for the clearance.
He said: â€œHeight clearance is a regulatory function of the NCAA, which is in our regulations that has been signed and passed by the government. We are dealing with all communication companies, we are in contact with them deliberating on some of the knotty issues. Some of them have made part payment and we are working toward getting the remaining payment.â€
He clarified that the programme was not embarked on to rake in money alone but also put in place measures aimed at identifying possible threat to safety.
Also, NCAAâ€™s Director, Aerodromes and Airspace Standards (DAAS), Mohammed Odunowo, said the identified telecommunications masts constitute a threat to air safety. This, he said, was the motivating factor for NCAA rising to its responsibility by ensuring the safety hazard are either removed or forced to comply with the approved height limits to prevent any accident.
â€œIf we can implement it, the electronic terrain and obstacle data base and go live, that will enable with the help of the federal government helicopter to fly at night. We are trying to capture all obstructions that is out there because everybody flies.â€
Nuhu said the Ministry of Aviation was not teleguiding its operations, maintaining that the Civil Aviation Authority remains autonomous in the discharge of its responsibility.
According to Captain Nuhu, no matter how independent the NCAA is, it must have a line of connection with the Ministry of Aviation.
He said: â€œYes, NCAA has autonomy in the implementation of regulation but NCAA cannot totally remove itself from the ministry of aviation. The Ministry of Aviation is responsible for policy development for the industry while we implement those policies through regulations and so we must have a line of communication and consultation with the ministry.
â€œIf you look at the organisational structure of the NCAA, you have the minister, the board and you have the Director-General, so we cannot totally isolate ourselves from the ministry. But, I can assure you, in terms of implementing regulations and otherwise, NCAA is the only body that can do that and we are doing that without any sort of interference from the ministry and you can agree with me that without the political support of the ministry, it would be difficult to implement some of these regulations. We implement our regulations irrespective of who is involved and the political support of the ministry and minister has made our lives much easier in implementing our regulations
According to him, anyone who wants the NCAA to divorce completely from the ministry is not being realistic as aviation goes beyond NCAA, there are other agencies including Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and others.
He said: â€œYou cannot say because we are independent in implementing regulations we can totally isolate ourselves.â€
On the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on airlines, the NCAA boss said Nigeria was not insulated from the shocks.
He said: â€œThis is not only happening in Nigeria, it is a global thing in the airline industry.
â€œBut, with the COVID-19 and the difficulties, airlines financial positions are not the best, it is a global phenomenon and there are so many other issues that affect the financial health of airlines that is neither in the control of the ministry of aviation nor in the control of the civil aviation regulatory body.
â€œFor instance, the provision of foreign exchange, it doesnâ€™t come from us. If a countryâ€™s foreign earning goes down, the central bank prioritises.
â€œTake for instance the lack of maintenance organisations in Nigeria, pilot recurrent training institutions in Nigeria have to go outside to do their training which entails a lot of foreign currencies, so it is not easy.â€
He continued: â€œAlso is aviation fuel price, that is a major factor that airlines have been having difficulties with, sometimes we see it induce scarcity and escalatory price. So, there are factors that affect the health of the airlines that are not in our direct control.
â€œThese are the micro and macro factors that affect the health of the airlines. We try through our economic regulations, to do the financial audit of the airlines and advise them where we see areas of economic difficulties and see how they can be tackled.
â€œOne of the things we are doing is to strengthen our onomic regulation through more training of the staff of the directorate. As you are aware, we are having some restructuring going on, it is to reposition the regulatory body to be able to carry out its responsibilities in a more effective and efficient manner.â€
On the maltreatment of Nigerian carriers abroad, Nuhu urged them to carry the NCAA along when they were filing for approvals to fly into other countries, to enable the regulator play its role in the international aeropolitics.
Nuhu said: â€œThe advice I will give the airlines is that if you are going to another country to negotiate your services, you should involve the regulatory body, the ministry of aviation and also your embassy in that country.â€™â€™
â€œIf you as a private organisation you go and negotiate with a government entity that is trying to protect its own airlines, you are going to run into difficulties, but you involve ministry of aviation officials, NCAA officials and embassy officials, the country knows that if they make things difficult for our airlines, we will apply the same reciprocity measures to their airlines, so it make a big difference.
â€ A lot of airlines go and do the deal themselves. They should involve us, carry us along, brief us, we are here to help our airlines grow both domestically, regionally and internationally. I hear them talking about aeropolitics, yes, an airline from Nigeria want to go compete with an airline of another country on their route, of course they will make it difficult for you but when you carry NCAA officials along, it makes a difference, if you put unreasonable demands on my airlines,
â€ I will apply the same to your airlines coming into my country, so it is to their benefit for everybody to come out with good terms for all the airlines. When airlines are going to foereign countries to negotiate, inform us so that we will sit down with you, guide you, send a representative there with you to negotiate with these foreign countries.
â€ If the foreign countries have airlines coming to Nigeria and they give unfair charges to our airlines, we will apply the same reciprocal charges to their own coming into Nigeria too. When we have BASA, there should be fairness on both sides, if there are challenges, they should inform us but if they are going for the first time, they involve us so that we sit down, strategize and send people there to negotiate.â€
Hope Rises for Domestic Airlines on Aircraft Leasing - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
Nigerian airlines may soon begin to lease aircraft without high insurance premium and rigid, outrageous leasing rates, as the federal government has stepped in to rebuild relationship between airlines and lessors.
After series of default on leasing agreements by some Nigerian carriers, lessors have stopped giving out their aircraft to operators despite the fact that Nigeria is signatory to Cape Town Convention, which enables airlines of member countries to lease aircraft at low rates.
This had led to a reduction in the number of operating aircraft before the COVID-19 lockdown and heightened the cost of airfares, as number of operating aircraft was not meeting the demand of passengers, forcing airlines to cancel and delay flights, besides the exorbitant airfares.
To end this problem, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu said the agency would guarantee lessors that it would protect their equipment leased to Nigerian carriers and with the new assurance, lessors can now give out their aircraft to Nigerian operators at relatively lower rates.
â€œWe will work with Nigerian airlines that lease aircraft and if there is any disagreement we will intervene and resolve the issues without having serious negative consequences on the Nigerian aviation market. â€œOf recent there was an airline in Northern Ireland that has issues with an operator in Nigeria over leased engines, we stepped in, intervened and we were able to resolve it and the engines were returned to the lessor.
â€œHonestly, from that singular act I got a lot of positive responses from the international community. People are more relaxed to do business with Nigerian airlines, knowing that if their equipment got stuck in Nigeria; they are able to get their equipment back with the help of the regulatory body,â€ he said.
The Director General said it would rebuild the confidence lessors have in Nigeria and could now lease aircraft to Nigerian airlines without stringent measures that describe Nigeria as risky environment, which ups the insurance premium and leasing rates.
â€œIf we continue to intervene for a longtime, it is going to make it easier for Nigerian operators to lease equipment, be it aircraft, engine or whatever, it will also come at a competitive global rate rather than adding premium because Nigeria is considered a high risk market. These are part of the things we are doing,â€ Nuhu said. However, aviation economist and the lead consultant at ETIMFRI Group, Amos Akpan told THISDAY that there was negative perception about the country in the global business transactions, noting that transactions with Nigerians carry a high possibility of fraud and corruption.
â€œThis false propaganda makes those leasing aircraft to Nigerian airlines install unnecessary, difficult clauses which are not found in their lease agreements with airlines from other countries. â€œThe situation is tilted against the Nigerian to the extent that when the lessor is in default, he gets away with it because of the preconception that the Nigerian should be in default.
â€œThe Cape Town Convention addressed this anomaly. The convention stipulates that all aircraft lease agreements be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of the contracting states. It further stipulates in case of default by the lessee in the agreement, the CAA shall grant permission to the lessor to fly out her aircraft to a destination of her choice. Simply put, if the lessor applies to NCAA, she shall be granted permission by NCAA to ferry out her aircraft. There have been instances that NCAA successfully implemented the Cape Town Convention protocol. Also, there are instances where the Nigerian courts have barred the NCAA and the Lessor from implementing this protocol in Nigeria,â€ Akpan explained.
Stakeholders partner on N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport - THE GAURDIAN
By Wole Oyebade
â€¢Air Peace expands Enugu operations
Free On Board (FOB) Goods and Logistics firm, in collaboration with Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, have concluded plans to build a N250 million packaging factory at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA), Lagos.
The factory aims to â€œBrand Nigeriaâ€, to improve the packaging of all local items leaving the country for acceptance globally. Meanwhile, Air Peace has increased the number of flights from Lagos to Enugu. In addition to the daily morning flights, the afternoon belt now has daily flights on the Lagos-Enugu route.
Chief Executive of FOB, Oluwajimi Adebakin, told reporters that talks were in the final stage with NAHCO towards the commencement of the packaging project as the site had already been secured.
Adebakin explained that the â€œBrand Nigeria projectâ€, which he described as a national assignment, was to ensure that products exported from Nigeria meet international standards through proper labeling and packaging.
â€œOur packaging of products is a major issue but we are looking at it seriously. By December or first quarter of 2021, packaging problems will be a thing of the past. Then, the issue will not be lack of options in packaging, but not using the facility that stakeholders have made available,â€ he said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government was also planning to build domestic warehouses across the six geo-political zones, to cater for exports and help to decongest the Lagos area.
The domestic warehousing facilities, when completed, will have internal storage facilities, packaging facilities and temperature control facilities for perishables and non-perishables.
The gesture, Adebakin said, would create jobs for the youth, and the government would create an enabling environment through its zero-oil policy to encourage the youths in works that would meet standards for export.
â€œThe government has finally woken up and we thank the president for taking this bold initiative to let us start looking inwards. We want to regain what we lost in the 50â€™s. Let us go back to where our comparative advantage lies.
â€œThe main thrust of the zero-oil policy is to ensure that we create gainful employment for our youths.
Nigerians are highly talented, from entertainment to music, and culture; you name it. What the government is now proposing to do is to create the enabling environment. It is going to be a thing of the past for somebody to say â€˜I am not employedâ€™.â€
Protesters at Nigerian embassy call for foreign nationals to 'go back home' - NEWS24
- A group under the banner of #PutSouthAfricansFirst marched to the Nigerian Embassy in Pretoria on Thursday.
- The group of about 50 people demanded that human trafficking and the drug trade stop in SA, which they pinned solely on Nigerian nationals.
- The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa Kabiru Bala met the protesters and heard them out, but said that he refused to accept that all Nigerians in South Africa are criminals.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa Kabiru Bala stood his ground on Wednesday refusing to accept that all his compatriots living in the country were criminals, after a small group marched to the embassy in Pretoria accusing Nigerian nationals of being solely responsible for human trafficking and the drug trade in South Africa.
A group of no more than 50 people, under the banner of #PutSouthAfricansFirst, marched to the Nigerian Embassy on Wednesday.
The small group - made up of different civil society organisations, as they called themselves - marched from Church Square in the centre of the Pretoria to the CBD, singing struggle songs as they made their way to the embassy.
Once at the embassy, the different groups took turns in addressing Bala on a long list of grievances, that included human trafficking and the drug trade in the country.
The groups pinned these crimes on Nigerian nationals living in South Africa.
Action for Change founder Nandisa Gcshwari said they were marching in protest against human trafficking and child abduction and that, while the perception was that they were being xenophobic, the march was merely about protecting women and children.
"We are taking a stand to say enough is enough. Our government must take a stand [and] they must stop being biased," Gcshwari said.
When asked why Nigerian nationals were being solely targeted in the protest, Gcshwari claimed that there was enough "evidence" and that Nigerians were "known" for trafficking and abduction.
President of the Khoisan Revolutionary Party Stanley Peterson said some South African women were being used as sex workers.
"You must send out a message to Nigerians to stop what they are doing," Peterson said.
Peterson added that asylum seekers and refugees from Nigeria were welcome in the country, but that nationals who entered the country illegally needed to be deported.
This did not sit well with some of the group, who said all Nigerians should return to their country of birth. Mario Khumalo, who marched with Agents of Change, addressed the ambassador and accused Nigerians of not being well mannered, and disrespecting South African sovereignty. He said Nigerians were "running amok" in South Africa.
"We are here to give a clear message. We will not allow people to take advantage of us. This is a clear message to you and your people. It must stop," Khumalo said.
Many Nigerians doing good in South Africa
Bala responded by telling the protesters that they appeared to only target Nigerians and that it saddened him that his country was being singled out. He said the protesters had a right to voice their issues, but that he had a right to disagree.
"We don't accept the profiling of Nigerians in this country," Bala said.
He added that he would never accept that all Nigerians in South Africa were criminals. He said there were many Nigerians doing good for the country and that those accused of being criminals should be dealt with through the legal system.
"I accept that there are Nigerians doing bad things, but you cannot tell me that they all criminals," Bala said.Bala was interrupted several times while addressing the group.
Civil organisations marched to Nigerian Embassy calling for its nationals to 'return home' News24 Alex Mitchley
Civil organisations marched to Nigerian Embassy calling on government to put South Africa first and send foreign nationals 'back home'. News24 Alex Mitchley
Civil organisations marched to Nigerian Embassy calling on government to put South Africa first and send foreign nationals 'back home'. News24 Alex Mitchley
Civil organisations marched to Nigerian Embassy calling on government to put South Africa first and send foreign nationals 'back home'. News24 Alex Mitchely
He pushed on and said Nigeria would never accept any Nigerian who committed crime and reiterated that those who were accused of doing crime should be taken to court and put on trial. One member of the group said that, if Bala did not listen to their grievances, he would deal with Nigerian nationals in a different way.
The same man had also told reporters that he would support violence against foreign nationals, as "it's the only language they understand."
Facts vs perception
Senior researcher for the International Crime in Africa Programme at the Institute for Security Studies Martin Ewi said the decision to solely blame Nigerians for human trafficking and the drug trade in South Africa was not supported by the facts.
Ewi said the organised crime landscape was dominated by both foreigners and South Africans. He added that Nigerians being removed from South Africa was not a solution.
"If you take away Nigerians, will you solve the problem of drugs and human trafficking? The answer is no," Ewi said. "Drugs and human trafficking were a problem before Nigerians started coming to South Africa.
"The data shows a market which is very crowded by many nationalities, so you can't point fingers at one group and thinking you will solve the problem."
Nigerian Students Want Embassies to Resume Visa Application Processing - ERUDERA COLLEGE NEWS
A considerable number of international students who were set to head to other world countries and pursue their studies are facing many struggles with visa approvals, due to lockdowns, travel bans, quarantine measures and other restrictions imposed by countries worldwide as a way to prevent COVID-19 spreading.
Visa delays have pushed many of them to protest over this situation and call on particular embassies as well as other important authorities to start working towards fixing this problem, on the contrary, they may lose scholarships and their places at universities.
As the problem is global, students around the world have united on social media to express their disappointment and outrage over this issue.
These students have united in a student campaign in social media under the hashtag #EducationIsNotTourism and are sharing their experiences, most of them claiming that they have months now waiting to receive a visa approval.
Some of them have admitted that more than one year has passed since they submitted their applications and the embassies have still not granted them with their student visa.
Among the most demanding students recently are those from Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Many of them expected to pursue studies for this academic year at German universities.
Students from Nigeria are also among the affected ones by visa approvals delays. They have also joined the campaign #EducationIsNotTourism to raise their voice over this situation which they consider serious and very unfair.
Nigerian students have asked the German Embassy in Abuja to resume visa application processing as soon as possible, in order to help the Nigerian students to leave their country on time and pursue their studies in Germany. However, the embassy did not come up with any statement regarding this situation yet.
â€œNigerian students are tired and sad. We have lost hopes as winter has started already. How are we going to join our colleagues when the classes have already started? Itâ€™s unfairâ€ a student wrote in a post on Twitter.
Lately, it has been reported that 4,000 Pakistani students were expected to start or continue their studies abroad; however, due to COVID-19 developments, they are also facing visa delays and are at risk of losing their study abroad opportunities.
Nigeria deports French national, 10 Egyptians, eight others - PREMIUM TIMES
The order for deportation was signed by the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
By Oge Udegbunam
The Nigerian government has deported 19 foreigners from the country.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the spokesperson, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Sunday James, on Friday.
According to the statement, the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, signed the order for the deportation.
This order is in accordance with the section 45 subsection (2) and section 46 subsection (1), and section 47 subsection (1) of the Immigration Act 2015.
One of the deportees, Ali Mahamat, was deported to France while another, Kasinayhan Ramasamy, was deported to India.
The statement said Mr Mahamat was found to be engaged in activities capable of undermining the security of a friendly neighbouring country to Nigeria in Maiduguri, Borno State, while Mr Ramasamy was found working as a shop attendant in Kano.
The statement said an additional 10 Egyptians that violated the conditions for their entry were also deported by the order of the minister.
It also confirmed that seven Sri Lankans, that were jailed for petroleum product-related offences after serving their jail terms, were ordered by the courts to be deported to their country.
The comptroller general of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, directed that all migrants in Nigeria should comply fully with the laws guiding their residence and entry.
â€œThe public is advised to note that all special exemptions granted to migrants due to COVID-19 have elapsed,â€ it concluded.
Nigerian air travel could shut as unions pledge to join strike - REUTERS
By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeriaâ€™s airports could shut down on Monday as four key unions said they would join an indefinite nationwide strike to protest an increase in power and petrol prices.
FILE PHOTO: A passenger wearing a face mask pushes a trolley outside the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, on its re-opening day for domestic flight operations, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Abuja, Nigeria July 8, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo
A Thursday statement issued by four unions representing pilots, engineers and other aviation professionals said they are â€œin full supportâ€ of a strike called by the Nigerian Labour Congress, which represents millions of workers across most sectors of Africaâ€™s biggest economy.
â€œAll workers in the aviation sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes nationwide as from 00hrs of 28th September,â€ the unions said in a statement seen by Reuters.
The signatories included National Union of Air Transport Employees, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Aviation said negotiations are happening at a high level; union leaders met yesterday with the Labour, Petroleum and Power ministries at the presidential villa, but reached no consensus.
Nigeriaâ€™s government removed pump-price controls on petrol earlier this month, and roughly doubled power tariffs in an aim to shore up a budget battered by a fall in oil prices and an economic contraction brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Petrol subsidies drained billions from government coffers, while experts said artificially low tariffs were holding back much-needed investment in the nationâ€™s dilapidated power sector.
International lenders such as the World Bank have pressed Nigeria to make the reforms to qualify for budget support loans.
But the unions said the increases were poorly timed due to the economic hardship created by the pandemic, with high inflation and a recession looming after the economy contracted in the second quarter.
Union leaders previously said a reversal of the price hikes would avert the strike.
Reporting By Camillus Eboh, writing by Libby George; Editing by Aurora Ellis
UK to Nigeria: We Determine Who Gets Our Visa - THISDAY
â€¢Expresses surprise about Nigeriaâ€™s livid reaction to visa ban on election riggers
BY Bennett Oghifo
The United Kingdom has responded to the Nigerian governmentâ€™s condemnation of its threat to impose a visa ban on perpetrators of electoral violence in the country, saying it respects the sovereignty of Nigeria, but reserves the right to determine who gets British visa.
Ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the British government had threatened to ban anyone guilty of electoral violence and seize their assets in the UK. The warning came a day after the United States placed a visa ban on individuals who compromised recent governorship elections in Nigeria.
The federal government protested the threat and visa restrictions, saying such actions by the US and UK were disrespectful to Nigeriaâ€™s sovereignty. But speaking in Abuja on Thursday at an orientation programme for people with disability seeking Chevening scholarship opportunities in the UK, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said the issue of visa restriction on perpetrators of electoral violence was the UKâ€™s policy and did not amount to an assault on Nigeriaâ€™s sovereignty.
She said: â€œIt is our visa policy, and we can determine who comes to the UK. So, that is a non-sovereign right and all we are saying is that in line with the Nigerian policy, that those who commit violence or who incite violence, there may be an implication for that person when they apply for a visa to the UK.
â€œSo, I think it is actually completely consistent with the Nigerian policy. This is our visa policy, but obviously, it is for Nigeria to determine how they deal with these perpetrators in Nigeria.â€ On wether the UK would heed the Nigerian governmentâ€™s response and drop such plans of imposing a visa ban on electoral offenders, Laing said she was surprised at the reaction.
She said prior to the 2019 general election, the federal government welcomed the UK policy, stating that the UK welcomed the fact that the Nigerian government was following up on electoral malpractice, and commended the peaceful conduct of the September 19 election in Edo.
Last week, the British embassy, in its statement threatening election violence perpetrators, said: â€œThe UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections.
â€œThis could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under international law. â€œThe UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the Police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.â€
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, had announced his countryâ€™s visa ban on Nigerian election riggers, adding that actions have also been taken against some persons in the run-up to the September and October 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo. The identities of those affected by the ban were not disclosed.
Pompeoâ€™s statement read: â€œIn July 2019, we announced the imposition of visa restrictions on Nigerians who undermined the February and March 2019 elections. Today, the Secretary of State is imposing additional visa restrictions on individuals for their actions surrounding the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa State elections and in the run up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo State elections.
â€œThese individuals have so far operated with impunity at the expense of the Nigerian people and have undermined democratic principles.
â€œThe Department of State emphasises that the actions announced today are specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people. This decision reflects the Department of Stateâ€™s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability, and respect for human rights.â€
The US said it remained a steadfast supporter of Nigerian democracy and commended all those Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
However, the spokesperson of Nigeriaâ€™s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, noted that such punitive measures by foreign countries were unnecessary as the government had shown commitment to ensuring credible elections, adding that there are laws providing necessary sanctions for offenders.
Nwonye said: â€œIt would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally. â€œWhile we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners, such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and U.S. to cooperate with our relevant agencies.â€
World Tourism Day 2020: Nigeria To Leverage On Tourism To Boost Grassroot Devt â€“ Minister - TVC NEWS
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said Nigeria will leverage tourism in its efforts to take development to the grassroots.
The Minister said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday to mark the 2020 World Tourism Day, which has the theme: â€Tourism and Rural Developmentâ€.
The statement was made available to newsmen by Mr Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.
The Minister said the theme, in the words of the United Nations World Tourism Organization(@UNWTO), celebrates tourismâ€™s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind.
â€Tourism plays an important role in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world.
â€œThis is why we are leveraging on the sector to take development to the grassroots by ensuring that local communities own and benefit from the cultural heritage and the tourist attractions in their domain,â€ Mr Mohammed said.
The Minister added that the occasion of the 2020 World Tourism Day presents the opportunity for stakeholders to reflect on the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic, which has hit the sector hard and also stepped down the national celebration of the day.
He said despite the negative impact of Covid-19 on the sector, it was a mark of its resilience that governments around the world still look to the sector to drive recovery as a leading employer and economic pillar in cities and the rural communities.
â€It is globally recognized that tourism empowers rural communities and provides employment mostly for women and youth. It plays an important role in diversifying the rural economy and its growth, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the population and the economy of the areas.
â€Tourism therefore helps rural communities make the transition from agrarian to diversified and sustainable economies,â€ Mr Mohammed said
The Minister noted that rural tourism perfectly suits the trend of most modern travellers seeking authentic and unique experiences, local lifestyles and the need to experience natural and unspoiled landscapes.
â€Rurality is the central and unique selling point in the rural tourism package, and apart from being located in rural areas, small in scale, traditional in character and slowly growing and controlled by the local people; rural tourism is regarded as tourism in the countryside, which embraces the rural environment. Most importantly, rural tourism aims to include and benefit rural communities, while preserving their environmental and cultural assetsâ€ .
Mr Mohammed said Nigeria had set up a committee to look at the impact of Covid-19 on the Creative Industry and Tourism, with a view to finding ways to catalyze the growth of the tourism sector in particular and the Creative Industry in general.
The Minister of Information and Culture, said the step was in line with the comment made by the Secretary General of the UNWTO, that the current Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity for member states to rethink the tourism sector and its contribution to the people and planet.
The Minister expressed the hope that all the relevant sectors will fully integrate and promote all the recovery recommendations and deliverables developed to support the recovery efforts.
Nigeria To Reopen Land borders Soon â€“Vice President Osinbajo - SAHARA REPORTERS
Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking during a webinar organised by The Africa Report.
Nigeria's Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has said that government may reopen the land borders soon.Osinbajo disclosed this while speaking during a webinar organised by The Africa Report.
The webinar, which was themed â€˜Bouncing back: Nigeriaâ€™s post-pandemic recovery planâ€™, focused on issues regarding government frameworks to be adopted towards economic recovery following the Coronavirus pandemic, which affected countries globally.
Reacting to a question on the continued closure of the land borders despite preparations for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Vice President said the government was working with neighbouring countries on the terms of reopening the border.
He said, â€œWe are working with our neighbours to see on what terms we would reopen those borders. At the moment, we are undertaking joint border patrols to control smuggling along the borders and we think it is working and I am sure that soon enough we should have the borders opened.
â€œWe are committed to the AfCFTA but we are concerned about threats to security and the economy and we had to take certain actions that would satisfy the immediate needs of our country. It (border closure) certainly wasnâ€™t meant to be permanent and we are looking forward to reopening as quickly as possible.â€
President Muhammadu Buhari had in October 2019 ordered the closure of the borders to check the menace of smuggling goods and arms and ammunition into the country and protect local businesses.
The closure was, however, greeted by mixed reactions from professional organisations, economists and individuals.
Heads of countries like Ghana and Benin Republic had also appealed to the President to reconsider the closure, but Buhari maintained that the borders would remain closed until the final report of the committee set up on the matter was considered.