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There is global media conspiracy against Niger •Runsewe tells visiting UAE journalists
The Director-General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation ( NTDC), Chief Segun Runsewe, has called on the international media groups to desist from embellishing and sensationalising reports emanating from and concerning Nigeria and its citizens.
Chief Runsewe made this known to a group of foreign journalists who accompanied Ethiad Airline on its maiden flight to Nigeria at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ozumba Mbadiwe Road, Victoria Island, during a meet–mind session he organised for the visiting journalists.
He said that: “I am sure that you must have been disappointed by what you have seen in Nigeria in comparison to the mind set you had and your perception of the country when you were preparing to come to Nigeria. The fact is that there is a global media conspiracy and deliberate effort at making Nigeria not a visitable country, despised and loathed by all.”
Chief Runsewe said: “But I am happy that you are in Nigeria. You can see and feel Nigeria in its true form without any embellishment and falsification. Most of the reports you read about Nigeria were conjectures and products of the global media conspiracy against the nation. There is an orchestrated media networking aimed at stunting the political and economic growth of the country.”
The journalists, who practice their pen pushing trade in the United Arab Emirates and based in Abu Dhabi, Jamal Almajaida, Tom Arnold , Vanice Ponce De Leon,Tracy Qic and Damian James put Chief Runsewe on the hot seat, raining at him barrages of questions about Nigeria.
The Nigerian number one tourism promoter proved his mettle as he gave a good account of the country’s international media tribulation.
Chief Runsewe, who commended Ethiad Airlines for identifying the economic potentialities in Nigeria and investing in it despite all the nauseating reports, also praised the management for coming along with journalists from reputable media houses from UAE to see the real Nigeria as different from the badly painted Nigeria being packaged by some foreign media.
He described the Ethiad Airlines action as “Splendid, as it will go a long way not only in boosting the economic relationships of both countries but further cement other bilateral endeavours in the area of tourism, culture, mutual understanding and cooperation.”
Chief Runsewe pointed out that Nigeria, with a population of over 150 million, having 36 states, with over 280 ethnic groups with different languages, culture, norms, religions and many other identifiable uniqueness and being in the category of a developing country was bound to face challenges, which are surmountable.
“But you see, whenever there is a tiff or pockets of crisis in a part of the country, the foreign media and some embassies are quick to sensationalize and issue adverse travel advisories and warnings against their citizens coming to Nigeria. And which should not be. They are quick to paint Nigeria black as if all the evils of this world and all the crimes are committed by Nigerians in Diaspora and Nigeria.”
Chief Runsewe said “Most of the crimes being credited to Nigerians in the foreign lands are actually perpetrated by other Africans who claim or look like Nigerians.
This is the price which Nigeria is paying for being the big brother in Africa.”
He, at this juncture, asked the visiting journalist “How can you identify whether the fellow you are seeing or passing you by on the street of Dubai is a Nigerian, a Ghanaian or a Togolese? It is very difficult because we all look alike. This blind assumption that every black man from the West – Coast is a Nigerian has cultivated to us hatred, great misrepresentation and gross misconception about the real Nigerians and Nigeria.”
Asked to enumerate the steps being taken by the present government to make sure that tourism traffic to Nigeria leaps.
Chief Runsewe revealed that “President Goodluck Jonathan understands perfectly the import of tourism in a typical developing country like ours. Thus, he recently made a policy statement on the issuance of tourist visas at the points of entry. This is to encourage and ensure prompt attention to tourists visiting Nigeria.”
He pointed out that Nigeria still remained one of the safest places to visit in the world despite the fear of insecurity which has been sold and being spread by the western media all over the world.
“I have to say without any equivocation that Nigeria is safe for tourists and investors. The crime rate in Nigeria is less in comparison with other countries of the world where tourists scramble to. In Nigeria, tourists are not a target of attack or molestation. Rather, they are respected, loved and adored. Nigerians are the most hospitable set of people in the world who display warmth and enthusiasm towards visitors. Tourists have nothing to fear in Nigeria.”
In response to the question on the number of hotel rooms in Nigeria, Chief Runsewe informed the journalists “We have up to 180,000 hotel rooms which are seviciable, functional and of good taste. What we are embarking upon now is the registration, classification and grading of all hotels in Nigeria in conformity with the dictates of international standards and ethics. We are bringing all hotels in Nigeria under one umbrella for effective monitoring and regulation.”
Chief Runsewe revealed to the visiting journalists, the numerous wonderful tourism assets which the country is blessed with: “I can confidently tell you that Nigeria is a bundle of tourism. There is no form of tourism which God has not blessed Nigeria with. We are the custodian of the longest beachline in West Africa. We have eight well endowed national parks. The only place where warm and cold spring run side by side is in Nigeria. The Obudu Ranch where you walk in the cloud is amazingly located in Nigeria. We also have thrilling waterfall in many states. The cultural tourism assets, we have over 160 festivals, among which are the Dubar, the Argungu Fishing Festival, the new yam Festival, Osun Osogbo, Eyo and Olokun. We are not lacking in religious tourism as the country is harbouring the biggest Church auditorium in the World while the Abuja national mosque has been described as one of the best in recent times.”
When asked about the infrastructure, Chief Runsewe assured the journalists “the President is committed to ensuring the rapid development and improvement of infrastructure in Nigeria, having realised that without efficient and effective facilities the economy will not grow. There are massive construction of road projects going on in the country now. The construction of the new 16mm railway linking the six – geo political zones will soon commence, while some states are also embarking on the construction of light railway.”
Responding on the need for a national carrier, Chief Runsewe informed “I am happy to inform you that the Federal Government is working hard to revive the Nigeria Airways. Nigeria Airway is coming in a form that all Nigerians would be proud of it.”
He also disclosed to the inquisitive media men that ‘At present and as you can see, our airports are being renovated and reconstructed while another international airport is being planned for Lagos, all aimed at making sure that Nigeria becomes a desirable destination for tourists and investors.”
Otunba Runsewe presented a bag full of souvenirs and documents on Nigeria tourism to each of the journalists with a Nigerian color designed muffler.
Nigeria is beautiful but……….
Emirates News Agency
Jamal Almajaida, one of the visiting journalists who write for Emirates News Agency, said “We are indeed grateful fot the insightful interview granted us by Chief Runsewe. We are happy at meeting a brilliant and patriotic tourism promoter who knows what he should do and doing it well. Chief Runsewe has endeared Nigeria to us and honestly Nigeria is beautiful but the government must spiritedly address this image problem.”
He commended Runsewe for the information materials and the branded souvenirs which he described as “of high quality, highly informative and well detailed.”
Also in his response, Tom Arnold, described Nigeria as a bundle of economic and tourism pot which only needs proper international marketing and projection.Share