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Minister of information promises to engage artistes

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 Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday said that the ministry would engage indigenous artists in promoting the nation’s culture and creativity.

The minister said this during a meeting he had with representatives of the Artistes’ Village within the National Theatre complex in Lagos.

He said that everything about life revolves around creativity and that the village, being a home of culture and creativity, could not be neglected.

“The importance of culture and welfare of artistes has been in the forefront of the ministry.

“That is why I had to pay four visits to the village in seven months to brainstorm with stakeholders there and chart the way forward for the sector.

“The ministry is very passionate about the arts industry because it is important to change the old perception of being a fall-back for unserious persons.

“The artistes should not be seen as social misfits, “ he said.

The minister promised to tackle the lingering crises among the artistes without prejudice or bias, a situation he said he inherited from past administrations.

“We will see how we can fast track this settlement; we will find something positive to engage artistes from the artistes’ village here and outside this settlement,’’ he said.

He also promised to facilitate effective communication between the ministry and the stakeholders in the artistes’ village to guard against rumour peddling.

Earlier, the coordinator of the village, Mr Tope Babayemi, had complained that the lack of effective communication had affected the relationship between the duo.

Babayemi said that the village had written several letters to the ministry to remind it of the compensation the minister promised the artistes after the village was demolished early in the year.

The coordinator said that his members were worried by the silence from the ministry.

Babayemi also appealed to the minister to support the sector by setting up an artistes’ village on Lagos Mainland as the Island was already saturated.

Babayemi later told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN said that the village should be relocated to the Centre for Black African Arts and Culture (CBAAC) or the Film Corporation’s premises.

“We suggest that the village should be re-located to CBAAC or the Film Corporation since these places are lying fallow and moreover, there are no centres on the mainland,“ he said.

The demolition of some workshops and structures that housed veteran actors, painters, sculptors and drummers in the artist village was carried out in January.

Hours after the demolition, the Minister visited the scene to ascertain the level of damage and promised a compensation of N20 million to rebuild the village.

He also promised to build standard studios, dance theaters, arts exhibition stands and lots of cultural artifacts in the village that could place Nigeria on the world map.


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