FG promises to protect artistes’ intellectual properties

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Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Federal Government will provide an enabling environment to protect the intellectual properties of artistes.

Mohammed gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos at the command performance of Wole Soyinka’s “Death and the King’s Horseman”.

The performance was organised by the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos State on Sunday night as part of events marking Soyinka’s winning the Nobel Laureate in Literature.NAN reports that Prof Wole Soyinka won the prestigious prize in 1986.

The minister said that protecting the intellectual properties of artistes was very vital.

“Creativity is not a simple task, a lot of work goes into it, and so people’s works should be protected for them to earn royalties from them.

“We need to validate what we are saying, the world is there waiting for us. You can see the creativity of the play, the ingenuity and the mental work that went into the play.

“All we need is an enabling environment to protect the intellectual properties of these artistes,” he said.

Mohammed assured them that government would also encourage the private sectors to invest in the creative industry.
He said that there would be definite improvements in the industry when that happens.

“We need production studios; we need partnership to push our playwrights and others to move forward. We can produce the best plays in the world.

“We need production constantly, not waiting for 30 years to do it.

“With what we have seen tonight, we can be in the best places in the world with our productions, arts, crafts and others, and we need to project it,” the minister said.

Also speaking with NAN, Akin Adejuwon, the NTN Chief Executive Officer, said that Nigeria had deep cultures that could be projected constantly to propagate and promote the country to the rest of the world.

Adejuwon said that Nigeria’s cultural industry needed to be re-strategized to help promote the arts sector.

“Arts and culture should meet to showcase what Nigeria has to offer the world.

“Most of our cultures are not rigid; they flow with the system, they progress and regress when conditions are not stable.

“We will continue to showcase good shows to the world for them to see what we have in this country,” he said.

The chief executive officer said the play was the brain child of the Minister of Information and Culture as well as the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).

He said they partnered NTN to project Prof. Soyinka’s play.

NAN reports that Soyinka’s “Death and the Kings Horsemen”, was a historical docu-drama set in the Oyo Kingdom of Southwest Nigeria during the British colonial administration in Nigeria of the early 1940s.

As the Oyo tradition demands, the King’s Horseman (Elesin Oba) must commit suicide before the burial of the late Alaafin, so that the horseman’s spirit can clear the way for the transition of the Alaafin’s spirit.

When information got to Mr Pilking, the British Colonial Administrator, he saw the age-long tradition as quaint and repugnant.
His intervention led to the subsequent arrest of the king’s horseman and destroyed the whole process.
The rite of passage which was distorted by Pilking set off a multi-facet tragic trajectories and dislocations in the defunct Oyo Kingdom.

Olunde, the horseman’s first son and a medical student in England who returned to bury his father as tradition demanded, committed suicide to fill the void left by his father’s arrest.

The horseman also committed suicide in his captivity when he was presented with the corpse of Olunde by the natives.

The play tried to explore the tragic consequences associated with diminished sensibility and understanding of intercultural behaviour, communication and tolerance.

There was also an exhibition of the life and times of Wole Soyinka in pictures form at the National Theatre.The play was directed by Mike Anyanwu and produced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

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