By NNEKA IKEM-ANIBEZE
An Abuja based group which promotes Pioneer Hiking Societies across Nigeria is seeking to establish a recognized governing body for Hiking groups, clubs and individual hikers across the country.
The group known as NAIJA Adventurers made this known when they paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of Youth and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalung on Thursday in Abuja.
According to one of the trustees of Naija Adventurers Julcit Onigbogi, the proposed Nigeria Hiking Federation (NHF) will aim to advance and promote sports tourism and a healthy lifestyle in Nigeria through hiking events and competitions, walking, rambling, tramping and backpacking.
“The Federation will incorporate existing hiking groups, clubs and associations nationwide – including leisure groups, professionals, school and university clubs and corporate bodies, among others.
“When established, the Federation proposes to affiliate with international and national bodies, while collaborating closely with local public and private establishments such as the Parks and Recreation Department of the FCT and the Abuja Green Society as well as other similar organizations in other states across the country.”
According to Ms Onigbogi, initial projects to be undertaken by the proposed Federation will focus on establishing hiking trails nationwide with partners, contributing to the development of the territories they cross with respect for natural and cultural heritage.
Responding, Dalung thanked the group for their initiative which he said be beneficial to Nigeria’s teeming Youth.
“Hiking will not only take youths off the streets but also from overindulgence in digital civilization. Let me challenge you to embark on massive advocacy to create awareness in Nigeria about the Federation. As a ministry, we will consider your request and accord the appropriate status to the Federation.
“We will continue to monitor your development but there are requirements you will basically need to meet. The relevant department in charge will guide you accordingly and provide the technical support to assist you in realizing your dream,” Dalung said.