Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to unite the country and reduce poverty even through the entertainment sector.
The minister made this known while receiving the executives of the Idoma International Carnival Group on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja on Wednesday.
Represented by Festus Ojieh, the Assistant Director, Entertainment and Creative Services Department in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Minister stressed that the administration was exploring ways to bring Nigerians together and alleviate poverty in the country using cultural carnivals and other similar festivities.
“From the signals we are receiving, after Nollywood, cultural carnivals make the highest contribution to Nigeria’s GDP from the entertainment sector.
“We are, therefore, willing to finance cultural carnivals when the need arises, but we are going to first provide technical and professional support so that the aim of projecting Nigerian culture to the international stage will be achieved,” Mohammed said.
He then called on the organisation to also play its part in ensuring that the country was peaceful, prosperous and united.
He said, “Each of us in our respective positions has a role to play. So, it is a good thing that young people are aware of the importance of our culture and are making efforts to promote and harness its potentials.
“Definitely, your efforts will add to the GDP, create empowerment and employment opportunities for the youths and also reduce social vices and tensions.”
In his remarks, the Vice President of Idoma International Carnival Organisation, Mr Henry Ipole, blamed the security challenges in the country on the neglect of local cultures, resulting in the erosion of value systems in the society.
“That’s why bandits can take people’s lives without thinking twice. Our cultures abhor killing and supports being each others keepers within our local communities.
“And so, we are in the frontline of promoting our culture and in the process uniting our people. We have been consistent in doing this in the past eight years using whatever medium and resources we have, at each moment, to ensure that we are not discouraged or deterred,” he added.
Ipole also disclosed that the theme of 2021 Idoma International Carnival slated for December, would be ‘Hope for the People’ to rekindle the desire for a better Nigeria, especially as the nation is recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.