Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
The Federal Government has rated Kebbi State as unique in tourism and cultural potential development in the Country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammad “Kakakin Kabi” made this known at a Press briefing in, Government House, Birnin-Kebbi as part of celebrations for 2021 World Tourism Day.
Alh. Lai Muhammad explained that the Federal Government decided to celebrate the Day in Kebbi State because the state has become a manifestation of the impact of tourism on enhancing the social and economic well-being of the people.
The Minister further stated that the famous annual Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival hosted by Kebbi State has been listed among five cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.
The Kakakin Kabi also mentioned Huttungo Fulani Festival in Gwandu Emirate, saying that if well developed, the festival could attract more tourists and put the name of Kebbi State on global tourism map.
Other festivals acknowledged by the Minister were Uhola in Zuru and Rigatta in Yauri, which the State Government has been working hard to expose as cultural heritage worldwide.
The Minister was emphatic that tourism transcended entertainment and leisure, but has now become an economic power of nations.
He requested the private sector to accord much more interest in cultural tourism through desired investment into the sector, while the government would continue to provide structures and security.
Alhaji Lai Muhammad made it clear that tourism has the power to change the negative perception of outsiders about Nigeria and her people.
Also addressing the newsmen, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu represented by his deputy, Retired Colonel Sama’ila Yombe Dabai, expressed appreciation to Federal Government for choosing Kebbi State to host this year’s World Tourism Day.
Governor Atiku Bagudu remarked that Kebbi State has distinguished its self as hub for tourism and culture, drawing visitors and tourists from within and outside the country.
The Governor named Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival as one of its kind in Nigeria and entire West African Sub-region.
He also listed Uhola Cultural Festival of Zuru Emirate, Huttungo Fulani Cattle, Camel and Sheep festival of Gwandu Emirate and Rigatta of Yauri Emirate which symbolized Gungawa maritime warfare to portray their Naval strength.
In addition, the State has numerous historical sites and monuments such as the tomb of the great Islamic Scholar, Shiekh Abdullahi Bin Fodio in Gwandu, Kanta Museum in Argungu, Gilmace Crocodile Shed in Zuru, Guma Palm Tree forest, Spring Water Kamba, Illo-Lolo forest in Bagudo, Onions in Aliero, Amarya Rock in Bena and several other sites.
Governor Atiku Bagudu reaffirmed commitment of his administration to the development of the tourism and cultural sectors in the State, through the provision of appropriate facilities and security.
In a related development, the Minister and his host moved to the Presidential Banquet Hall, Birnin-Kebbi, where the 2021 World Tourism Day Celebration was held with the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.
Governor Atiku Bagudu represented by the Deputy Governor Alhaji Sama’ila Yombe Dabai expressed appreciation to the Minister of Information and Culture for selecting Kebbi State for this year’s event, he retriated the p commitment of his administration to the promotion of tourism.
Other speakers include the Minister of Information Alh. Lai Muhammad. While goodwill message of the UNWTO Secretary General was presented by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Dr. Mrs Ifeoma Alaore Anyanwutaku.
The Key note address was presented by the Kebbi State Commissioner for Commerce, Cooperatives, Industry and Tourism Alhaji Garba Ibrahim Geza, as well as the Commissioner for Information and Culture Barrister Rakiya Tanko-Ayuba and the Director Domestic Tourism Mrs. Patrica Narai. The Guest Speaker Professor Chika Umar Aliyu of Usman Danfodiyo University presented a paper on the World of the Tourism.
At the ceremony, the Minister presented Certificates of attendance to participants trained by the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).