Some foreign participants lauded the masquerades at the carnival.
The Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation said on Monday that foreign participants at the Abuja carnival would go on tour of some tourist centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Cultural Officer in the ministry, Amina Usman, announced this to the News Agency of Nigeria at the ongoing Abuja International Carnival.
Ms. Usman, who would lead the tour, said that it would expose the tourism potential of the city to 50 foreign participants.
According to her, the tour will begin on November 26, which is the last day of the carnival.
She said: “Places to be visited include Jabi Lake, Zuma and Aso rock, National Stadium, Millennium and Zoological Park.
“This is a tour to familiarise the foreign participants with the tourism prospects of FCT and to know about other national historical centres in the territory.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that foreign participants at the ongoing carnival are from Egypt, Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, China, and Namibia.
She said that the beauty of the carnival was for foreign participants to be taken round some historical sites and for them to say something about the nation’s tourism potential.
“The country is blessed with a lot of tourism potential that both foreign and local investors can take advantage of.”
“The Abuja international carnival is meant to improve creativity and harmony among Nigerians,” she said.
Ms. Usman said that the carnival would provide an opportunity for the nation to generate wealth.
“People come from different countries and the different states of the federation.”
“They are going to incur expenses on accommodation and food; and this will generate wealth for some Nigerians.”
“The carnival, as well as other indigenous festivals, have created ethnic harmony and strengthened our collective aspiration as a nation,” she said.
Meanwhile, some foreigners have lauded Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage exhibited by participants at the festival which entered the third day.
The foreign participants particularly showed their excitement during the carnival’s masquerade fiesta on Monday in Abuja.
Rachel Harley from the U.K., who witnessed the masquerade fiesta at the Eagle Square, said Nigeria was indeed blessed with diverse beautiful cultures which had made the nation beautiful.
“Nigeria is really blessed with a lot of cultural riches and I am really enjoying it. We do not really have masquerades in the U.K., so I’m seeing something new.”
“God has created many different cultures and one of the beauties of Nigeria is that there are so many languages and cultures and it is wonderful to celebrate the cultural riches and the vibrancy that you have here.”
“I am very excited to be a part of it and I am grateful to God who has made all these things bright and beautiful,’’ she said.
Ms. Harley urged people to appreciate their culture and tradition, irrespective of what they represented, saying that was their heritage as a people.
“It is good for people to be able to appreciate and value their own cultures and languages. After all, it was God who made all languages and all cultures equally.”
“I also think that religious bodies have a lesson to learn from this by enjoying the culture and bringing it to their congregations in a way that it will glorify God,” she said.
Rachel Neumeister from Canada said although she had attended quite a number of carnivals in her country, they could not compare to what she had experienced in Nigeria.
“The beautiful array of dance, culture and colour is something new for me,’’ she said.
Ms. Neumeister said that wearing an African attire known as “Adire” was a beautiful piece that she would like to return home with so that many people would know that she had been to Nigeria.
She described Nigeria as a strong nation with beautiful people and a lot of potential to live fulfilled lives.
“Nigeria has diverse culture with diverse land and the people are good. They want the best for their country and have a lot of potential,’’ Ms. Neumeister said.
Bao Chang, a Chinese national, said that so far the carnival had been a show of wonder, adding that he was happy to partake in it.
“So far it has been wonderful. I hope all other nations will come up with their own carnivals and festivals so that people can know that they are rich too.’’
Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Ebonyi, FCT, Niger, Taraba, Kwara and Anambra participated in the masquerade fiesta.
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