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Stakeholders Seek Partnership To Grow Travel Industry

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It was a gathering of ‘who is who’ in the tourism and transport sectors in Abuja recently, as the Institute of Tourism Professionals (ITP) hosted the second edition of the National Tourism & Transport Summit and Expo. Held at the main hall of the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, the two-day event created a platform for stakeholders to brainstorm on the potential and challenges facing the growth of both sectors.
Held under the theme, Tourism and Transportation Inter-dependencies for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, which was dedicated to exploring in details the synergy between tourism and transportation and how best to reap the windfalls from them, got the backing of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, as well as Ministry of Information and Culture.
In his welcome remarks, the President of ITP, Chief Abiodun Odusanwo, who was also the Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the summit said the National Tourism and Transport Summit and Expo aims at bringing together all players in the tourism and transport industries so that issues hindering the growth of the two sectors can be tackled without sentiments.
“It is essentially meant to provide the platform to deliberate on the complex relationship between transport provision and tourism in boosting the nation’s economy. Furthermore, it is to offer a conducive avenue to experts and policy makers in conjunction with key players and operators in the industry to brainstorm on the interconnectedness between transportation and tourism, a connectivity brought by road, rail, maritime, and air transport services and chart the way forward for both sectors and extension, reposition them in the economic diversification drive of the President Mohammadu Buhari – led administration.”
Declaring the summit open, Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Abubakar commended the organisers for the initiative, which he said has the potential to galvanise the two sectors and related industries to boost the economy of the country.
Mustapha reiterated the commitment of the federal government to massive investment in building the country’s infrastructure and the pursuit of peace and security in order to achieve inclusive socio-economic development of the country.
He said for tourism to thrive, the country needs to be at peace, giving assurance of the federal government resolve to handle the various challenges confronting the country while suing for the support and cooperation of all Nigerians and businesses to move the country forward.
Meanwhile, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCTA), Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello noted that the FCTA was proud to host the summit, which he said offered a platform to chart a better way for the two sectors while calling on all the participants to explore critical issues relating to bridging the gap between transport and tourism sectors.
Some of the keynote speakers at the event included the Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as well as Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who were all represented at the event.
At the end of the two-day summit, participants listed Policy summersaults, under utilisation of modern technology, dearth of data and inadequate human and institutional capacity as some of the factors responsible for the drawback in the two sectors. While noting that low-level participation and poor investment of the private sector are also slowing down growth in the sectors, they observed that poor infrastructure development and also lack of synergy between the two sectors, is not helping to spur sustainable growth and development.
Participants, therefore, called for steady government policies, stronger public private partnership to grow both sectors, noting that strong human and institutional capacity and use of modern technology to conduct tourism and transportation activities are key if Nigeria is to witness sustainable growth and development in the two sectors.

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Transport

Nasarawa Accident: Death Toll Rises To 18

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The death toll from the accident that occurred on Akwanga-Nassarawa Eggon federal highway last Sunday has risen to 18, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has confirmed.
, Nasarawa state sector commander of the FRSC Mr Ismaila Kugu told newsmen in Lafia on Monday that the accident involved an articulated vehicle and a commuter bus belonging to Benue Links Transport Company.
Kugu said 13 persons had died on the spot while 11 others got injuries and were taken to hospitals in Nassarawa Eggon and Lafia.
“As at this evening (Monday) when we went for follow up,  five of the 11 injured persons we took to the hospitals for treatment have died,” he said.
Kugu said the Corps Marshal, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, had ordered a full investigation into the accidents on the Akwanga – Nassarawa Eggon axis in view of the recent upsurge in cases resulting in fatalities.
He recalled that a similar accident had occurred in the same axis on September 9, resulting in the death of 11 persons.
“It is quite disheartening to lose 29 souls to road crashes  on a particular route within one week,” Kugu added.
He urged commuters, especially commercial drivers, to exercise caution and patience while plying the route because of its narrow and rough nature.
Kugu also expressed the need for vehicle owners to give more attention to the maintenance of their vehicles, especially trucks, in order to avert some of the accidents. Meanwhile, some commuters have expressed worry over the increasing loss of lives due to crashes on the Lafia-Nasarawa Eggon-Akwanga road and called for urgent attention from relevant authorities.
Mr Friday Ozonue, a commercial bus driver, attributed the accidents to the narrow nature of the road  and recklessness of truck drivers.
Another commercial driver, Malam Bala Adamu, blamed most of the carnage on speeding and dangerous overtaking.

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Transport

Delta Begins Repair Of Federal Roads

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Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has said that the state government has commenced repairs of dilapidated Federal Government roads in the state.
Okowa disclosed this at a thanksgiving service for the state Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro at Christ Embassy, Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of the state, on Sunday.
The governor said that the state government got approval from the Federal Government last Thursday to intervene in the repairs of some of the dilapidated portions of some federal roads in the State.
According to him, contractors have been drafted to the roads to carry out rehabilitation adding that palliative work has started on the Benin-Sapele road portion.
He also said that repairs had started at the Asaba end from the River Niger side of the Bridge on the Asaba-Onitsha highway.
The governor assured that the Agbor- Abraka-Eku road, which was also in a deplorable state would be rehabilitated.
“I know that Deltans are unhappy with the deplorable state of federal roads across the state. We may not have the resources to do the roads but we can do palliative work on them.
“After applying for permission from the Federal Government to embark on the rehabilitation of these failed portions of the roads in the state, we got approval three days ago and we have deployed contractors to commence work on the very bad spots,” Okowa said.
The governor said that there were many reasons for his administration to be thankful to God, explaining that were not disappointed with the outcome of the last elections.
Earlier in his remark, Otuaro said that God gave them the victory following the overwhelming support from the people of the state.
He acknowledged the traditional rulers and the clergy and called for more prayers for the state government and the nation.
Otuaro reaffirmed the determination of the Okowa administration to bequeath a “stronger Delta” to the people.
The Pastor of the church, Eddy Owase, in his sermon, said thanksgiving would only be meaningful when the people established a good relationship with God.
In attendance were former governor of the state, James Ibori, Sen. James Manager and Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Sheriff Oboreuwori, among others.

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Transport

Transport Company Empowers 25 Drivers With Buses

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A privately-owned transport company, ‘PlentyWaka’, has empowered 25 of its drivers with buses, saying it wants to change the face of commercial transportation in Lagos State with innovative technologically-driven bus transportation system.
The company’s Director, Mr Onyeka Akuma, made this known to newsmen in Lagos, yesterday.
Akuma explained that the ‘Plentywaka’ is a technology bus-driven system that connected the company’s drivers to their buses, while offering comfort, safety and convenience during their daily rides’’.
He said the company recently flagged off PlentyWaka pilot phase in Lagos State, plying Ajah to CMS to announce the transport business model.
Akuma noted that the system was unique in the sense that there was a policy in which the company signed a three-year contract.
He noted that the contract made it possible for about 25 of the company’s drivers to become owners of the buses they drive for the company.
According to Akuma, the drivers will be allowed to own the buses after three years, provided they keep the bus in top notch condition through regular maintenance.
“This transport model is different from other models because while other models are money-oriented alone, we are seeking to empower the drivers and create jobs to stem unemployment in our country.
“We are particular about the values we are creating to society as against making money alone. This makes us unique and different from other technologically-driven transport model.
“Our drivers will be happy that they have been given the opportunity to eventually own brand new vehicles in spite of being paid every month for the operation of the bus.
“This value addition for them is the exciting thing we are bringing on board,’’ he said.
Akuma, said that individuals could cash-in on the development by sponsoring some of the buses.
“With N60,000, you can be a part owner of a bus and get 22 per cent annually on Return on Investments. This is how we get investments for the buses,’’ he said.
Akuma said that the company would continue to connect with the communities where it operates with the planned installation of traffic lights and sign posts in designated areas to improve the transport systems within communities.
PlentyWaka’s Managing Director, Johnny Enagwolor, said the view initiative is the next step for the future of the transport system in Lagos.
“Having access to safe, convenient and accessible transportation options is crucial to reducing bad driving, crashes and possible eventualities.
“What we are trying to eradicate totally is the issue of stress associated with public transport generally”, he said.
Enagwolor said that the company had the support of the major stakeholders in the transport industry such as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Lagos State Transportation Management Authority (LASTMA) and the Police.

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