The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Sadiq Abubakar, has called on the private sector and the government to support the Benin Cultural Heritage Complex. Alhaji Abubakar made this call during the foundation laying ceremony of the Benin Cultural Heritage Complex at the Lagos Express By-Pass, Benin City, on Thursday, March 10, 2011.
The Honourable Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said he was delighted that the Benin Cultural Heritage Centre is blazing the trail in the culture sector, hoping that the long list of recognitions at the occassion would translate to financial support as it was a foundation laying ceremony.
He described Benin as the cradle of culture, stating that it symbolises the Black and African Unity as far as culture is concerned.
The Honourable Minister observed that the initiative will further promote the Benin Cutural Heritage Centre (BCHC), “as most of our cultures are dying by the day,” noting that “the Binis excel in promoting our indigenous dresses.”
Furthermore, Dr. Ayakoroma said representing the Honourable Minister had afforded him the opportunity to interact with the Edo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Abdul Oroh, and used the opportunity to tell the organisers that NICO will collaborate with Edo State Government to ensure that cultural orientation programmes are taken to the next level.
He stressed, “having discussed with the President of the BCHC, thorough representation will be made to the Federal Government to ensure the Centre is given a pride of place in the cultural sector.”
The President of the Benin Cultural Heritage Centre, Dr. Roland Ehigiamusoe, who is also Chairman of the University of Calabar Governing Council, had earlier in his welcome address, expressed joy on what he described as a special ceremony which marked another milestone in the history of the Bini people.
Dr. Ehigiamusoe said it was a day when Edo people and their corporate and individual friends from all walks of life, gathered to join Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, CFR, Oba of Benin, to lay the foundation stone of the building of the Complex, adding that the Benin Empire was one of the oldest and greatest Empires and therefore deserved a befitting Heritage Centre comparable to those of other great cultural nations in the world.
He further stated that the Centre will be comprehensive, as tourists will experience the beauty and wealth of the Benin art and culture, stating that, “it will mirror the Benin Cultural greatness and activities of yester-years, today and the future.”
The Centre, according to him, will have a Main Auditorium, Museum, Art Gallery, Amphi-Theatre, Sculptural Garden, Herbal Garden, Craftshops, and Aqua Culture Centre, among other facilities.
Management staff of NICO in the entourage of the Executive Secretary include, the Deputy Director/SA to the ES, Mr. Nelson Campbell, Deputy Director/Coordinator, South-West Zonal office, Akure, Mr. Louis Eriomala, Assist. Director/Coordinator South-South Zonal Office, Yenagoa, Mr. Mike Ekoko, and the Assist. Director, Protocol (ES Office), Mr. Alex Omijie.