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Creative industry, the only hope of Africa – Lai Mohammed

Creative industry, the only hope of Africa – Lai Mohammed
Written by Maritime First

… As Imo NSCDC arrests 7 for alleged vandalism***

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the creative industry has been identified as the only hope of Africa from its economic woes, unemployment and fragmentation.

The minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking to the newsmen on his recent visit to Cairo, Egypt to attend the 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Afreximbank.

Mohammed said though the AGM was primarily to give the scorecards of the bank activities, a day was, however, set aside to discuss the creative industry in Africa.

He said from the report of the Afreximbank and the conclusion at the special session, the creative industry was adjudged the only hope for Africa in the sense that “it is a resource which is limitless, renewable and can easily create wealth and jobs’’.

“When you look at the development of the creative industry in Africa today, you will realize that we are sitting on a goldmine.

“In most African countries, the creative industry has developed with less contributions from government, this is because we have the population and the talents.

“The creative industry is gender-friendly, engages both male and female old and the youth.

“The importance of the creative industry is not just in terms of creating jobs or wealth but can be used as soft power in maintaining peace and harmony.

“This is very important in Africa where we have a fragmented society along with religions and ethnicity,’’ he said.

The minister said that the position at the bank’s AGM confirmed what he said some years back that the “creative industry is Nigeria’s new oil’’.

Narrowing it down to Nigeria, he said the country had many advantages including the youth population of about 52 million who are between the ages of 18 to 25 largely talented and digitized.

“We have about 33 million Nigerians who are internet users and this is a huge advantage to us.

“Nigeria has what others do not have to leverage on in the creative industry, especially in movie, music, arts, fashion and gastronomy.

“It is amazing today that Nigeria fashion, music, movies are making waves all over the world,’’ he said.

The minister, however, underscored the need for governments across Africa to invest in creative industry’ infrastructure like creativity hubs, better internet connectivity and cheaper data.

He said there was also the need for reliable data on the contribution of the creative industry to the economy in order to attract funding.

The good news, according to the minister, is the readiness of the Afreximbank to devote special attention to the creative sector in the continent in the years ahead.

The minister said the bank announced at the event a 500 million dollar finance portfolio for the media and the creative industry in the continent.

He assured that Nigeria would work on it to see how it could benefit from it

Mohammed also said that the support pledged by the Afreximbank to Nigeria for the completion of its Digital Switch Over project was on course.

In the meantime, the Imo Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has arrested seven men for allegedly vandalizing and selling iron road barriers.

The Acting State Commandant of the corps, Mr. Chukwuemeka Odimba, said this while parading the suspects at the command’s headquarters in Owerri on Tuesday.

The newsmen report that two of the suspects were arrested for allegedly removing the iron barriers, while five were arrested for buying the vandalized items.

Odimba said that his men arrested the suspects, courtesy of reliable intelligence reports on the whereabouts of the culprits.

He further said that the arrest was in line with the corps’ mandate of protecting critical government assets.

He frowned at the activities of vandals, describing the removal of the barriers as sabotage against the government’s efforts to provide the necessary infrastructure.

The state NSCDC boss also said that the crime further put the lives of motorists and other road users in jeopardy.

He called on Nigerians to desist from vandalizing government property.

According to him, the corps will not relent in the discharge of its constitutional duties.

“We arrested them upon receiving strong intelligence because removing barriers and selling them, especially the ones at the Imo State University Junction, puts the lives of at least 10,000 students and other road users at risk.

“There is no need to destroy government property, given the scarcity of funds at the government’s disposal,” he said.

Odimba gave assurance that the suspects would be prosecuted at the end of the investigations “in order to serve as a deterrent to others”, he said.

One of the suspects, Mr. Nnaemeka Azunna, aged 21, denied deliberately removing the barriers.

Azunna said that the barriers were knocked off from the road by a trailer before he took them away to sell.

Also, Mr. Aminu Ibrahim, 22, said that he was deceived into engaging in the trade and begged for leniency.

Odimba, however, called on residents of the state to assist the command with reliable information on the whereabouts of vandals.

“This will be their contribution toward the protection of lives and property in the state,” he said.

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Maritime First