The Federal and state governments have been called upon to pay more attention to the development of the tourism sector to create jobs for the youths in the country.
The Walin of Lokoja, Rear Admiral Ibrahim Idris (rtd) who made the charge on Saturday in Lokoja said that the sector had been left undeveloped for too long at the detriment of the country’s economic development.
Idris who spoke as the Chairman of the maiden edition of the Lokoja Boat Regatta Festival pleaded for a change of attitude to the sector from the two tiers of government.
According to him, the country has a lot to gain from the tourism sector because of its job creation and foreign exchange earning potentials.
He said that tourism be accorded the same attention being given to agriculture by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to further widen the internally generated revenue base of the country.
The Chairman commended the Lokoja Forum of Patriots (LFP) for resuscitating the boat regatta festival which he described as the traditional festival of the indigenous people of Lokoja.
Alhaji Shiru Lawal, the Administrator of Lokoja Local Government in his speech said that he had initiated a move with the state government to develop the tourism sites in the council area.
Lawal who was the Chief host of the event identified confluence of River Niger and River Benue, mount patti, Lord Lugard resting place , iron of liberty , World war cenotaph as some of tourist sites in Lokoja waiting to be developed to standards.
He pledged his total support for the festival , saying that the council will ensure that it holds on yearly basis henceforth.
The Chairman of the Lokoja Forum of Patriots (LFP), Alhaji Idris Babaango said that the organisation decided to leverage on the traditional festival to further promote unity and understanding among the various ethnic groups in the local government.
He also said that it was aimed at projecting the unique position of Lokoja in Nigeria and use its creative resources to attract local and foreign tourists.
Babaango thanked the people for embracing the festival enthusiastically , promising that efforts will be made to sustain and improve upon on subsequent editions.
The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) who was at the event reports that it featured swimming and rowing competitions among seven districts while trophies and prizes were distributed to winners by the Roggan of Eggan, Alhaji Alhassan Idris who was the royal father of the day.
The Wazirin of Lokoja, Alhaji Mohammed Idris while Mr Tayo Fadile, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs stood in for Alhaji Mustapha Boss, the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority.