Nigerian Government has not abandoned artistes’ village-Minister

Solomon Chung, Lagos

The Nigerian government is still very much interested in developing the popular Artistes village located in Lagos, South West Nigeria, as well as building the capacity of the artiste, the country’s Information and culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed says.

The Minister made this known during a reconciliatory meeting with the community of the resident artiste of the village in Lagos on Monday.

“It is not true that the government has abandoned the village and the inhabitants. After the unfortunate incident, we have agreed that government will compensate the community and we are working towards that with all sense of responsibility. “

The Minister was speaking against the backdrop of the disagreement that emanated between the community and the federal government after the unfortunate demolition of the village sometime in 2015

He said his ministry has made concerted effort to see that the creative industry is developed. He cited the benefit that creatives would get from the social intervention scheme in the 2016 budget.

However, he said for the artiste village to develop there must be serious engagement and cooperation regardless of the little strained relationship between the artistes’ community and the ministry after the unfortunate incident that happened in 2015.

Responding, the leader of the community and coordinator of artistes in the village, Mr. Tope Babayemi said the visit and engagement by the minister shows that he has the interest of the Nigerian creative industry at heart.

He said the community has put the unfortunate incident that happened behind it and was ready to work with the Ministry for the benefit of the industry and the artistes.

He also commended the minister for his proactive and responsive approach to issues affecting the industry.

“We want to work together with the government because the few recent engagements between us and government have even started attracting people back to the fold. We want more effective communication to be able to give the community feedback,” he stated.

It would be recalled that last year, the government demolished some illegal structures in the village which eventually gave birth to a strained relationship that is now being addressed by the two parties.