Realizing the vital role of tourism as a source of sustainable economic growth and well-being for the people of the Niger Delta region, Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme has hinted on collaborating with the organizers of the popular Odi Ogoriba Ba Uge Festival in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa State with a view to making it an international brand and rallying point of unity in the region.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta/Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul reiterated the need for peaceful co-existence and national unity amongst people in the region.
In a statement to the Daily Times on Sunday by the Niger Delta Liaison Officer, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo, Boroh assured that his office was poised to partnering with well-meaning individuals, organizations and agencies to institute peace education as part of efforts towards peace building and stability in the region.
Boroh, who was represented by his Senior Reintegration Officer, Mr. Jude Gbaboyor at the grand finale of the weeklong festival in Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, reaffirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.
He described tourism as a global peace industry being a building block for peace and harmony for meaningful cultural dialogues and exchanges, noting that tourism can be a source of sustainable economic growth as well as veritable platform for peace education and well-being among the people of the region.
He also hinted on plans by the Amnesty office to transform former militant camps across the creeks of Niger Delta to become adventure tourists sites to attract tourists from all over the world, informing that the initiative was geared towards job creation for the youths in the region, particularly the ex-agitators who could be trained as creek tour guides because of their mastery of the creeks and rivers in the maritime region.
The Amnesty boss thanked the King of Odi, HRH Shine Apere and the Chairman of the organizing committee of the 60th edition of the festival for honouring him with the peace award, saying that the award has spurred him to do more to sustain the peace and stability in the region.
Also speaking, the Chief Whip of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency 1, Hon. Tonye Emmanul Isenah, emphasized the importance of citizenship education as a top priority to raise global awareness in developing empathy for diversity which is the goal of every tourism development and promotion effort.
Chairman, organizing committee of the 60th edition of Odi Ogori Ba Uge International Festival, Prince Iwefa Aganaba, said that the event was put together as part of efforts to promote the Odi brand and the existing peace in the community after the military invasion in the past and to tell the rest of the world that there are better ways of resolving conflicts in a non-violence manner.