One of Nigeria’s foremost Senators, Florence Ita Gwa has said Akwaaba African Travel Market has continued to act as a beacon of light in the tourism and travel industry in Africa and particularly in West Africa.
The Senator said the yearly tourism and travel expo is changing the negative perception held by the outside world of the continent through bringing Africans countries together network amongst each other.
Ita Giwa, who spoke as the Special Guest of the 14th Akwaaba Jollof rice contest held at Eko Hotel Lagos, said Akwaaba Travel Expo has put Nigeria on a different pedestal in the world as all the negativity about Nigeria is being corrected by travel expo.
She said Carnival Calabar has collaborated with Akwaaba up to the level that it now has an international carnival where other countries from across the globe now participate in the carnival which takes place on the 28th of December every year.
“We have told stories of climate change and now we are working and telling stories of human trafficking and sex slavery which is the focus of this year’s edition of Carnival Calabar with theme Africanism.
The Senator applauded the organisers of Akwaaba African Travel Market for their resilience in organising the event yearly and providing the platform for African countries to be able to interact with each other.
The Director-General of the National Council of Art and Culture and President of World Craft Council, African Region, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe who spoke earlier commended the organisers for sustaining the exhibition for 14 years.
Runsewe said the platform is a veritable space NCAC to showcase not only its innovative effort as an agency but also the strength of Nigeria as it relates to its enormous cultural potential.
“We are using the platform to showcase the strength of our great Nigeria and since this edition of Akwaaba has Dubai, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, The Gambia, Ghana, South Africa and other countries, our job is to ensure that everybody that comes to our country has a memorable hospitality of Nigeria by giving them a treat of our culture.
Giving an instance of Dubai which showcases its products elaborately at the event, Runsewe said.
So we don’t allow this kind of platform to waste. You can imagine, Dubai took almost half of this top floor. So if a country that recognises the culture and tourism like Dubai is here to showcase what it has, we must take advantage of that.
Otunba Runsewe used the opportunity to invite Nigerians to come and participate and be trained in its free skill acquisition programme.
He said the participants will be given certificates at the end of the training programme.
The NCAC boss stated further that: “We are training people on skill acquisition free of charge in bead making and others, this is part of how to empower the people, we give certificates at the end of the training. In Abuja, we tried it and we were shocked that most of the people we trained have opened shops after the training and if this is given a serious backing I am sure crime will be reduced in this country.
We met three girls in Abuja and they were prostitutes and we took them out of the street and they have left prostitution and they have now found something that gives them hope.”
The NCAC brought yam floor, beans floor, Garri and other items branded for 2018 Akwaaba to the expo.
At the NCAC stand, there were arrays of products like disinfectants, pomade, car air freshener, liquid soaps and others made by the people trained by the Council in skill acquisition.
by Friday Nwosu