The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday during an unscheduled visit to the Artists’ village at the National Theatre in Lagos urged them to take advantage of the N500b intervention fund the government has set aside in the 2016 budget.
In a statement made available to newsmen, signed by the special assistant to the minister, Mr Segun Adeyemi, it said that the minister promised to do everything possible to provide a conducive environment for artists to thrive.
‘‘The Artists’ Village is here to stay,’’ the minister told the artists who welcomed him to the village, which has been in the news in recent times after it was negatively affected by the general demolition of shanties within the National Theatre complex.
‘’Arts and culture have placed Nigeria on the world map, perhaps second only to sports. Nigeria’s work of arts are being celebrated globally. It is the responsibility of the government to promote them.
‘‘We’ll do everything to encourage the arts. Within our little resources, we’ll make sure that arts thrive.’’
The minister assured them that this will be a new era of better rapport between artists and the ministry as well as with the management of the theatre.
The statement added that the minister also toured the village to see the damage done to the works of some of the artists during the demolition exercise. He also promised to assist those affected as soon as he received the report detailing the losses they incurred during the demolition, and after studying the report which he personally commissioned to find out what actually happened.