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Jonathan lauds Nigerian creative industry


LAGOS – President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday night lauded the achievements of the Nigerian creative industry for being good ambassadors of the country.
Jonathan, represented by Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, made the commendation in Lagos at “Evening of Celebration of the Creative Industry in Nigeria.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Jonathan, who had arrived Lagos for the event, had to leave due to the bomb blasts in Kano Central Mosque.
He said the challenge of insurgency breaks his heart but pointed out that terrorism and insurgency will never break the country or its citizens.
“The nation is more important than any individual and the spirit that has welded the country for the past 100 years will continue to hold us together.
“We must stand against insurgency and move the nation forward’’, he said.
The president said the creative industry had continued to win hearts and fans for Nigeria across the world.
“We have broken the boundaries of geography and our movies have moved us into the homes of people all over the world.
“You have taken the collateral of our country and weaved it into beautiful epics and the country is very proud of you.
“Our musicians have redefined music all over the world, same with our fashion designers who are recognised and respected by some of the best in the world.
“Our writings are also being taught in schools all over the world and have been translated into numerous languages’’, he said.
The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the creative industry had enriched the lives of Nigerians.
She said the industry contributes 1.4 per cent of the country’s GDP (about N1.2 trillion) and 200,000 jobs directly and one million jobs indirectly.
“Government has thus thrown its weight behind the industry.’’
She said 28 per cent of YouWin grants which is about N8.17 billion had gone the way of the creative industry and that 5,456 jobs had been created as a result of this.
She said Project Act Nollywood, a N3billion grant programme which was launched last year would now be extended to the other creative sub sectors.
“Also, 205 individuals have benefited and 132 million naira have so far been disbursed from the N3billion.
“Seven private film institutions have received N108.5 million to train manpower in the industry.’’
Okonjo-Iweala said Federal Government was identifying worthy films to co-produce and so far there had been 26 beneficiaries who have received N215 million for film projects
Another batch of beneficiaries, she added, was being processed and would be ready in the next two weeks and that 80 films will be involved.
She said a lot of work was being done to protect the copyrights of the creative industry.
She urged stakeholders to work with the government which has shown so much faith in them and promised not to disappoint them.
NAN reports that the event had the cream of the Nigerian creative industry in attendance.
They included actors, musicians, comedians, writers, artists and photographers.
Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya called on the government to establish a National Endowment Fund for arts, build some infrastructure and a national gallery to showcase modern arts.
The president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANAN), Prof. Remi Raji, urged the president to support Nigerian writers more as they were a very important member of the creative community.
A photographer, Mr George Osodi, called for more effective copyright laws and stronger sanction against defaulters.
There were musical performances by King Sunny Ade, Segun Arinze, Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze, a.k.a. Aki and Paw Paw, Kate Henshaw, Rita Dominic, Waje, Omawumi and Ben Ogbeiwi.
Other performers were Asa, Sani Danja, Timi Dakolo, Lara George, Mo Eazy, Cobhams Asuquo, Sunny Nneji, DNMT (Dance Na the Main Thing), Akpororo and Onyeka Onwenu. (NAN)

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