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    How culture festivals will shape Lagos in 2018 – Commissioner

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    The Lagos State Government has explained how its “over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes” slated for 2018 will shape the year. In the long-list of programmes rolled out by the State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, the state government listed its popular Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti […]

    The Lagos State Government has explained how its “over 70 state-sponsored and endorsed arts and culture programmes” slated for 2018 will shape the year.

    In the long-list of programmes rolled out by the State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Steve Ayorinde, the state government listed its popular Gidi Fest, Lagos Water Regatta and Fanti Carnival, the International Jazz Day celebration which will be dedicated to the South African Jazz legend, Hugh Masekela; the Lagos Comedy Festival and the Eko Art Expo as some of the programmes that will thrill the city, its residents and expected local and international tourists.

    Ayorinde, in a statement, described the calendar as a novel exercise designed to frontload state and privately driven arts, culture and entertainment events that will have positive effects on tourism promotion.

    “This is in fulfillment of the State Government’s promise to announce a yearly calendar of events to guide programming, tourist and visitors’ decision,” the commissioner said.

    According to Ayorinde, the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, kick-started the year with his attendance at Ali Baba’s January 1st Comedy concert at Eko Hotel. Other arts and culture events held in January and February 2018 and included in the calendar are Angel and Muse, an art exhibition by a Lagos trained world renowned artist; Eebi; a month-long Indigenous Cultural Festival in Epe; Wazobia FM Carnival as well as the Lagos Marathon amongst others.

    He added that the idea of creating a calendar of events for state-sponsored and state-endorsed programmes is to make event planning, tour bookings and business decisions easier for tour operators and the general public.

    “The calendar is part of the State’s innovation to project arts, entertainment and leisure benefits inherent in Lagos and to make the state attractive to domestic tourists; business travellers and stop-over passers-by. The state is forging ahead of expanding the consumption of its tourism products by improving access to tourism information and creating an events guide for the media and tour bloggers.

    “Although not exhaustive, the calendar contains many of the indigenous cultural festivals across the state, entertainment events; concerts; visual; performing and fashion and culinary events. The State is expected to leverage on infrastructural development, regeneration of old and creation of iconic attractions for entertainment, arts and culture enthusiasts to boost economic activities and expand opportunities for job creation during the various events on the calendar,” a part of the Commissioner’s statement read.

    Ayorinde also said the administration’s belief that the quantum of cash transactions across the tourism and entertainment value chain, as tracked in December 2017 when about N50billion was spent on entertainment and leisure alone, is a testimony to the huge economic gain in promoting tourism in Lagos State.

    “June will be rich with the first ever Lagos Golf Funfair and the Lagos Cinefest, which is designed to take cinema-going experience to all the five divisions of the State. The Lagos Festival of Plays is a major highlight in the third quarter of the year; so is the Lagos Fishing Festival (Oshoroko) in Ibeju-Lekki; Akwaaba Travel Market and Faaji Agba – a special concert for the elderly to mark World Elders Day.

    “October to December will be the most intense period on the calendar with Olokun Festival; MUSON Festival; AFRIMA, AFRIFF; Kayo-Kayo Festival in Epe; the Lagos Luxury Summit/Fair; Felabration; Lagos Books & Arts Festival (LABAF) as well as the One Lagos Fiesta,” the statement read.

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    Foreigners patronizing private hospitals in Nigeria-NMA

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    Foreigners patronizing private hospitals in Nigeria-NMA

    Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has confirmed that some foreigners have taken interest in the quality of health care services being provided by some private health care facilities in Nigeria, hence the increased patronage of such facilities by the foreigners.

    Its President, Dr. Audu Bala, told journalists at a press conference, in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the patronage by foreigners from different countries of the world is an indication of the growing confidence and trust in the health care services in Nigeria as championed by the private sector.

    He said: “private sector, all over the world, play critical role in providing quality health care services to the people. Nigeria, undoubtedly, has a very high medical tourism rate. Nigerians visit medical facilities in different countries in search for quality health care services.

    “To this end, it’s important to adequately engage the private sector to turn the medical tourism in favour of Nigeria. There are several key players that have invested heavily and had left a landmark in the quality of care they provide to the people.

    “There are number of private health care facilities that receive patients from other parts of the world. So, additional investment and support for the private health care facilities would go a long way, and also champion the campaign for the reversal of medical tourism in Nigeria.”

    He made reference to recent proposal by the Association for the establishment of the National Tertiary Health Care Development Fund that will function like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the education sector.
    “This will enable the government to provide adequate funding for the tertiary health institutions. It will also open additional gateways that will even support the private sector access fund with low interest rate,” he said.

    Reacting to the recent corruption index report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the NMA President faulted the report, insisting that his members have and had maintained high level of integrity and respect in their interactions with patients in the hospital.

    He said: “The report placed the rate of bribery amongst adults who accessed healthcare services in public hospitals at very minimal percentage. We are working to reduce the figure to the bearest minimum.

    “The fact that services of Doctors and Nurses in public sector is the least corruptible is the attestation to the integrity and ethics within the health sector.”

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    Uzodinma’s infrastructural development will attract investors, tourists – Imo lawmaker

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    Uzodinma’s infrastructural development will attract investors, tourists – Imo lawmaker

    Johnleoba Iheoha, representing Ikeduru State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, and chairman, House of Assembly Standing Committee on Industry and Commerce, has said that the South East geopolitical zone would witness an upsurge of investors and tourists from within and outside the country when the ongoing works at the Nekede Imo International Market and the Assumpta Roundabout flyover are completed.

    Johnleoba, who spoke to newsmen, had described the Imo International Market, Nekede, located along Port Harcourt Road, as an outstanding business outfit that will help to position the state as an investment hub within Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The Imo legislator noted that the international market is an expansive market with the capacity to accommodate thousands of traders and allied workers in various trades and businesses.

    As he inspected the ongoing construction work at the Assumpta Roundabout flyover, said that the flyover would not only be an added glamour to the beauty of Owerri, but will go a long way to enhance free flow of traffic.

    He also spoke on the ongoing state-owned electricity power generation project at Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, saying that it would help the state to be self-sufficient in power generation and supply, which he saw as a prelude to industrial revolution in the state.

    Johnleoba equally commended Governor Uzodinma for the sponsorship of the recently concluded three-day capacity building workshop for principal officers of the Imo State House of Assembly at the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, Abuja.

    According to him, “The capacity building programme has added great value to every member of the 10th State House of Assembly.

    I now have greater knowledge, broader horizon, immeasurable zeal and courage to function as a lawmaker.

    “I now know better, my rights and privileges as well as the rights of the people who mandated me to represent them in the legislative house,” he said.

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    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism

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    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism

    The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that its improvement of airport facilities, passenger facilitation and security has encouraged tourism in Nigeria.

    The agency said that the drastic action taken by the Managing Director, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku against touting at the airports has brought sanity and orderliness to the satisfaction of travellers.

    Kuku identified some of these achievements when she spoke at the Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference (WOCFA) overseen by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week; held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, said FAAN has recently taken steps to make Nigeria’s airports safe and accessible by genuine tourists and travellers and has also made efforts to eliminate touting and other forms of criminal conducts around the airports.

    FAAN boss also spoke on the recent creation of a dedicated Department for Cargo Services in the agency, as stakeholders emphasized the need for improvement of trade facilitation, including air cargo facilities and infrastructure, cargo compliance, closer collaboration amongst African countries and Stakeholders as well as Cargo Specialized Training for stakeholders.

    There was emphasis on digitalization of passenger processing and how the embrace of robotics technology by airports in Africa would help to give customers further experience of speed, efficiency and excellence. The use of technology to drive efficiency has been part of FAAN’s priority agenda under the present dispensation.

    Making his input on the first day of the conference, the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, emphasised the need for removal of visa restrictions to enable free movement of people and goods across the continent, stating that to achieve this, there is need to work with Foreign Affairs Ministers across Africa.

    The Minister equally made a case for adequate funding of air transport in Africa.

    Also speaking at the event, IATA,s Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi called for pursuit of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which constitutes part of FAAN’s recent programmes.

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