The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari has kept Nigeria “safer than it was before the advent of his Administration in 2015”.
The minister stated this on Monday in Abuja at a ceremony to bid farewell to foreign bikers who had undergone a tour of the nation’s monuments, museums and other cultural heritage and tourist sites.
The bikers, under the aegis of Latin America Motorcycle Association (LAMA), had undertaken the tour with the theme: “Rediscover Heritage Bikers Tour Project”.
The tour, inaugurated by the minister in Abuja on October 23, had taken the bikers to eight states – Niger, Kogi, Enugu, Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Oyo Lagos – and the Federal Capital Territory, during which they visited many sites.
Speaking at the event, the minister said the tour had been a success from the accounts of the bikers and it was an attestation that Nigeria is safer that when Mr Buhari took over in 2015.
“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.
The minister said unlike armchair analysts who had labelled Nigeria unsafe, the bikers had crisscrossed the country by road and returned safe and sound.
“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.
“I congratulate you all for this great adventure. I thank you for ignoring the naysayers and for having the courage and the confidence and the open mind to see things for yourselves.
“As you go, I urge you all to become great ambassadors of our great country, Nigeria. And I hope you will come back here in the not-too-distant future,” he said.
The minister thanked the President of LAMA, Marip Nieves; the President of LAMA Nigeria, Ernest Akhikpemelo; the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the NTA and the sponsors of the event.
He wished all the foreign bikers a safe journey back to their various countries.
On his part, Mr Nieves said the tour had been “a trip of my life” coming from the Caribbean to discover his root.
He said Nigeria is safe contrary to the reports in international media and the government should endeavour to promote its tourism potentials to attract more tourists.
Mr Nieves said from their experiences and what they learn from the museums, monuments and heritage sites they visited, Nigeria like other African countries has a rich history and heritage.
“Africa has incredible civilisation which we have been able to witness from this trip.
“Besides having a great time, we have used this tour to promote peace, love, harmony and tourism in line with our objectives,” he said.
Akhikpemelo, the President of LAMA, Nigeria chapter, said the vision behind the tour was to promote Nigeria tourism and show to the world that the country is safe for investments and tourism.
The bikers had travelled to Gurara Falls in Niger; The coal city of Enugu, the Millennium Park, Slave History Museum, Tinapa Lake Resort all in Cross River; the national museum in Port Harcourt and Rivers State.
They also toured the ancient city of Benin in Edo State where they visited the
National Museum, among others; the ancient city of Ibadan in Oyo State; Lagos Mega City and of course many sites in the FCT.