With visit to Owu Falls, FG begins assessment of Nigeria’s tourist sites
Having inaugurated the Technical Committee on the Review of Nigeria’s Tourism Master Plan to articulate realistic policies that will drive tourism from the periphery to the mainstream of the economy, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has commenced a tour of tourist sites in the country with a visit to Owu Waterfalls in Kwara State.
Accompanied by representatives of the local community in which the Waterfall is located, alongside officials of the Kwara State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Minister described Owu Waterfall as one of the wonders of nature, adding that the government is now looking toward natural assets like the waterfall with a view to
developing them for economic benefits.
Located in Ifelodun local council area of Kwara State, Owu Falls is the highest and most spectacular natural water fall in West Africa. It stands as one of the symbol of nature, which it existence is untraceable, but can only be appreciated and promoted by exploring. The waterfall itself is 120m above water level and cascades 330 feet down an escarpment, with rocky out crops to a pool of ice-cold water below.
Surrounded by a stretch of mountains extending to Ekiti and Kogi states, the falls is said to have been brought to limelight by Reverend Plafare Dui over 40 years ago, during missionary activities for the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as Evangelical Church of West Africa. The rich and lush green vegetation makes the environment attractive to visitors and other creatures like birds, monkeys and reptiles, while the natural flora and fauna have turned the falls into a nature seekers delight.
Speaking during the visit, Alhaji Mohammed said, “We are all awed by the awesomeness nature of the Almighty. You can’t begin to wonder where is the source of this water and what I found most enticing and really baffling is the louder we shout, the more the volume of the waterfall. This is one of those natural assets that we have been bestowed with and there is no country that has this kind of assets that will not be able to exploit it for economic benefit,” he said.
He underscored the dearth of infrastructure as one of the major challenges confronting tourism development in Nigeria, but expressed optimism that the revitalisation of the Presidential Council on Tourism (PCT) will bring about synergy within the government to surmount the challenge.
“Fortunately we have been very busy trying to revitalize the Presidential Council on Tourism because tourism is not a stand-alone ministry. Without the cooperation of other ministries such as Power, Works and Housing – because you need to provide road, electricity and security – you cannot actually have a vibrant tourism industry. I’m happy I came here personally today and I have seen it and at the next meeting of the Steering Committee of the PCT, we will actually put this across,” he said.
The Minister, however, promised to liaise with his counterpart in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to give priority to the construction of the 7-kilometer access road to the waterfall. He also commended the Owa-Onire Community and the Kwara State Government for encouraging tourists to visit the Owu Waterfal through the facilitation of access and the provision of security.
The Tour Guide and a leader in the community, Mr. Akanbi Sunday, who chronicled the history of the Owu Waterfall, thanked Alhaji Mohammed for being the first-ever Minister of Information and Culture to visit the waterfall.
The Minister had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Onire of Owa-Onire, Oba Abdulraham Fabiyi, telling the traditional ruler he was in the community to have a first-hand knowledge of the Owu Waterfall with a view to developing it as a viable tourist site, in line with the diversification policy of the Federal Government.
The tour is in line with the renewed intensity of the Federal Government to visit and assess the level of infrastructure in each of the tourist sites across the nation and ascertains potentials for development in those areas.
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