The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has enjoined the private sector to partner with the government in the current drive to turn the Creative Industry into a creative economy.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Tuesday when the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) unveiled Abubakar Adam Ibrahim as the winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2016.
“I am proud to say that one of the highlights of the Economic Recovery Programme of this government is actually providing that enabling environment through which we can transit from a creative industry to a creative economy.
“I have always tried to encourage the private sector to take more interest in the creative industry because the creative industry naturally anywhere in the world is on a tripod. There is the government, the private sector and there is the creative industry itself. Unfortunately, we have failed to transit from a creative industry to a creative economy precisely because there is no meeting of minds between the private sector and the creative industry and I think it is the government that can provide the bridge. For the private sector to invest in the creative industry, there must be adequate protection,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed emphasized that the nation’s greatest asset is not the natural resources but the creative ability and resourcefulness of its citizens, and commended the NLNG for appreciating this by instituting and sustaining the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
He said literature is one area where Nigeria has made its mark on the global scene, but noted sadly that piracy has remained a huge challenge to intellectual property right in the country.
“The creative industry – of which literature is of course a part, the music, film and other arts – I think is one area where Nigeria a very long time ago stamped its authority and prominence. We have had world-class authors, like the Late Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Gabriel Okara, but unfortunately we failed to adequately protect the intellectual property of these very resourceful people.
“There is no reason why any author in Nigeria should die in penury or poverty. I think it’s the failure to adequately protect this intellectual property that has led us to the sorry state that we have today,” the Minister said.
Alhaji Mohammed said having shown keen interest in literature, the NLNG needs to move beyond awarding prize in literature to also join in the fight against piracy.
“I want to please also enjoin the NLNG to do more than this. I think they should join hands with the government in fighting piracy. Piracy it not just about records or films, it’s also about books, fine art and culture. We can join hands together and ensure that the intellectual property of all artists are protected,” he said.
In his remarks the Managing Director of NLNG , Mr. Tony Attah, said the Nigeria Prize for Literature remains one of the main Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes of the company.