The Federal Government said on Thursday that every state in the country is safe, contrary to a recent negative report by the U.S.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Abuja when he received in audience a delegation from the Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN).
Mohammed said that the advisory published by the U.S., which was awash in national dailies declaring 20 Nigerian states “unsafe and completely no-go areas’’, was not correct.
The minister admonished the media to desist from propagating negative news about the country, stressing that it would discourage investors and be counter productive to tourism growth.
“Recently, all the newspapers carried the negative story that 20 states in Nigeria are not safe, according to a U.S. report.
“We are in Nigeria, how can we believe the claim that 20 states in Nigeria are not safe.
“That is not correct. There is no state in Nigeria that is not safe today.
“Is there any week they are not killing people in the U.S. by either shooting in schools or driveways or people committing suicide or mass bombing.
“How many of these stories do their media celebrate?
“If they want to tell their people not to come to Nigeria, it is not for us to help them propagate it,’’ he said.
The minister urged the media and members of the association to complement efforts of government to reposition the tourism sector.
He noted that tourism was driven by perception rather than reality, adding that every Nigerian must invest in perception management for the country.
The minister also urged leaders in the public and private sectors to help promote local tourism by spending their vacations and holidays at tourist sites within the country.
He said that the ministry would soon embark on visitation of major tourist sites in the country to assess their potential for development.
Earlier, the National President of the association, Alhaji Kabir Malan, who led the delegation, commended the minister for his efforts at repositioning the tourism sector.
He called for the review and implementation of the Tourism National Plan as well as the enactment of laws that would guide the operation of tourism practitioners.
Malan also urged the government to encourage investors to set up tourist camps across the country and make loans accessible to them.