OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday, urged the Federal Government to officially declare Idere Hills, in Ibarapa Area of Oyo State as an International Tourist Centre in Nigeria.

It also called on the government to develop it by providing good roads, lodging, hospital and ancillary services for the comfort of tourists and the inhabitants who may require them.

This resolution followed the adoption of a motion on ‘The Need to develop Idere Hill at Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State, as an International Tourist Centre’ moved by the lawmaker representing Ibarapa Central/ Ibarapa North, Muraina Saubana Ajibola (PDP, Osun) at plenary.

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Presenting the motion, Ajibola noted that in 2019, the tourism industry contributed 10.4 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which decreased to 5.5% in 2020 due to the restrictions placed on global travels following the outbreak of the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Giving reasons to the motion raised, he noted that several African countries have developed thriving and sustainable tourism industries as may be seen in Morocco where the tourism industry contributed 18% of the country’s GDP in 2019.

The lawmaker stated that in 2019, the tourism industry contributed $1.5 billion to Nigeria’s economy, which decreased due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on international travel.

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Ajibiola lamented that the Nigerian Tourism Industry remains relatively undeveloped despite the uniqueness, richness and diversity of Nigeria’s tourism resources.

He said the tourism industry in Nigeria has the potential of contributing much more to the economy, provided that the Federal Government, the 36 States Governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) put in place measures to harness the potential of the numerous natural tourist attractions that abound in the country.

According to the Oyo lawmaker, “Idere Hills situated in Idere town, in Ibarapa Central Local Government Area of Oyo State, which is about two hours drive from Ibadan, is gradually emerging as a new tourism centre as it has been attracting patronage from Local and International tourists.”

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“Idere Hills is endowed with about 14 natural attractions, among which are a suspended lake, unexploited caves, beautiful topography, unusually shaped rocks, friendly weather and a fortress and is blessed with several historic artefacts and archaeological materials which are yet to be studied and documented by the National Library and the National Museum

The inhabitants of Idere town and the adjoining settlements often organize annual carnivals, which attract visitors from all over the world and the Government of Oyo State has been promoting and developing Idere Hills as an emerging and thriving International tourism centre.”

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“If Idere Hills, is officially recognized and developed as an international tourism centre, the benefits to the country would be enormous, including protection of the environment, preservation of natural resources and conservation of wild life as well as preservation of the cultural heritage of the inhabitants, hence providing socio-economic benefits for the host communities, Oyo State and the country as a whole,” he said.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Culture and Tourism to ensure compliance and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

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