EMPLOYMENT: FG to build more cultural villages

Abuja – The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to build three additional cultural villages in the country to create employment for the youths.

Mr Seyi Womiloju, the Director of Cultural Industries and Heritage in the Ministry of Information and Culture, made this known in an interview on Friday in Abuja. The director said that the three cultural villages would be located in Benin; Edo, Yola; Adamawa, and Badagry in Lagos State. He said “we are working toward building the new villages; the contract has been awarded and the period of completion is supposed to be three months from now. “The contract was awarded in November; therefore, it should be ready within a maximum of five months.”

Womiloju explained that the three additional cultural villages would make a total of 15 of such cultural centre’s spread across the six geo-political zones of the country as there were 12 already.

He noted that if the host state governments of the cultural villages handled them well, youths would not have to go looking for “white collar” jobs elsewhere. He said youths in those states would make use of their creativity “to bring bread and butter” to their tables. “The youths could organize themselves and even export these items. Imagine a slipper made up of beads. “If people can be serious about opportunities in these cultural centres and the state governments coordinate the activities very well, the products could be taken to other countries for exhibition. “And by doing so, foreign markets will be created for the products and the makers could make money and employ others to carry out mass production.” The director explained that the ministry had no hand in the running of cultural villages. “The ministry only builds such centres and hands over to states through the Art Councils and the council runs them,” he added. He said the reason behind handing the centres to the state governments was because they were built to empower the community.

Womiloju, who said that state governments were supposed to supervise activities at the centres, added that the governments should also help artists who patronise them to secure micro-finance loans that could assist them buy materials. “However, from our end here, we supply working tools, equipment to the centres and even carry out capacity building training for artists. “It is unfortunate that some state governments are not making optimal use of the cultural centres.”

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