Ex-envoy wants separate culture ministry to promote arts and crafts

Nigeria’s former ambassador to Morocco, Baba Garba, said that for Nigeria’s arts, crafts and culture industry to thrive, culture should no longer fall under the Ministry of Information.

He said if he is to be affiliated with the Ministry of Information, there should be a clear dichotomy of functions between the two departments.

Garba spoke at the ongoing first edition of Nigeria and Morocco Handicrafts Exhibition and Morocco Traditional Wedding Festival at Chida Hotel and Event Center Abuja.

At the exhibition, showcasing the arts and crafts of Morocco alongside those of Sokoto State, Moroccan craftsmanship is luxurious, refined and intricately designed: from ceramic tableware to trinkets, clothing , wooden works, leather goods accessories to raffia products. They all scream high end (also expensive) but highly finished, compared to Nigerian handicrafts which are definitely unique in their own design but lack the sophistication of their counterpart.

This is odd considering that the redskin leather used by Morocco since the 1830s (and highly valued in Europe) originally came from Sokoto and via Kano transported by caravans to Fez, Morocco, and then to Europe.

Today, the Chamber of Arts and Crafts of Morocco joins forces with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture of the State of Sokoto to ensure the success of this exhibition, which is held from 24 to October 29.

For the Nigerian arts and culture industry to thrive, Garba said the country must see the industry not as a civil service job where bureaucracies prevail, but as a job where people take ownership and assume responsibility for cultural projects, just as Morocco has done with its chamber of arts and crafts. of Commerce which shows the country’s recognition and investment in the sector as a revenue generator.

James C. Tibbs