Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Monday said that the 2019 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture would provide skill acquisition programmes for participants.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of NAFEST at University of Benin Sports Complex, Ugbowo, Benin, Runsewe said that NCAC was determined to use the empowerment programme to take teeming unemployed youths off the streets and make them productive members of the society.
He said that this was part of the vision of the council to make culture a key player in the nation’s economic growth.
He explained that culture was capable of creating mass employment and empowering the people in line with the economic diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“It is in the light of this that we have expanded the scope of the festival to include skills acquisition programmes.
“The essence of this is to train youths, women, the physically challenged and other vulnerable members of the society in various skills in arts and crafts.
“This is to make them self employed and employers of labour; this will commence at the festival venues from Tuesday,” he said.
According to Runsewe, every edition of the festival focused on specific issues of national life as the council seeks to find solutions to challenges of nation-building.
He said that in the course of the programme, there would also be free medical screening such as eye screening, body massage index, blood sugar test and more.
Runsewe said this was part of the council’s corporate social responsibility to the Nigerian people.
“The platform is also for talent hunt, identifying, nurturing and training of young Nigerians who have exhibited unique expertise in various areas in our competitive events,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that legendary musicians Victor Uwaifo and Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2Baba, thrilled Nigerians with their hit tracks during the opening ceremony.
The festival will end on Saturday.