By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State Government is set to empower over 2.5 million youths in Arts and Crafts, in order to make them self-reliant and economically independent.
The Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, disclosed this during the recent annual creative industry skills acquisition workshop organised by the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture.
Speaking at the four-day event, tagged: “Unlocking The Potential of The Innate Creativity for Sustainable Development”, designed to equip participants for employability opportunities. Bonu noted that the present administration is poised to empower over 2.5 million youths through Arts and Crafts.
He said, “The present administration is committed to empowering about 2.5 million youths through arts and crafts. This is in addition to the provision of start-up credit facilities for them through the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.”
The Special Adviser noted that the programme will help to expand opportunities in the area of entrepreneurship and enhance productivity.
In her address, the Director of Arts and Culture, Mrs. Saidat Otulana, stated that the creative industry has a cultural origin with the potential to generate wealth, while creating millions of home-grown jobs, as well as enhancing the nation’s capacity, thereby impacting positively on the economy.
Otulana noted that the annual workshop has proven to be an avenue to explore the prospects inherent in the creative industry in the state and implored the youths to seize the lifetime opportunity to continually improve on skills acquired by regularly upgrading themselves.
The workshop was introduced by the Council for Arts and Culture in 2015. This year’s edition had participants trained by experts in specific fields, namely tie and dye, batik fabric making, craft decor production, Ankara accessories making and natural cosmetics production.
The workshop, the fifth in the series, is part of ongoing efforts by the government, to groom entrepreneurs and build new businesses towards the realisation of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda of the present administration.
In the same vein, the state government says it will establish a butchers’ academy, in order to train new and existing butchers, in global best practices on slaughtering in the red meat value chain in the state.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, stated this on Friday, during the test run of a new semi-mechanised abattoir, under the Public-Private Partnership at Bariga area of the state.
Olusanya said that the academy would attract youths into the sector, through the adoption of technology and in an effort to make them the next generation of butchers.
In her words: “We have what we call the butchers’ academy coming up, where we want to train our existing butchers for them to see the best global practices around slaughtering. We want to start bringing in graduates and the youth, to be the next generation of butchers but the only way to attract the youth into this sector, is to have mechanised and semi-mechanised abattoirs.”
“We cannot bring them into the traditional slaughtering on the slab, which is not hygienic, wholesome and does not attract the right customers that will pay the margins and will make this sector attractive to people. The onus is on us as a government, to ensure that we train our existing butchers and also to show the new butchers that this is the system we want to inculcate going forward and we believe that it is just a matter of time before that re-orientation sets in and everyone adopts this technology,” the Commissioner said.
Olusanya said there are 12 semi and fully mechanised operational abattoirs in Lagos, adding that some of them were setup through public-private-partnerships.
She explained that the state has two fully mechanised lines in Agege, Oko-Oba Abattoir as well as other Public-Private Partnership collaborations on semi and fully mechanised slaughterhouses, urging butchers to embrace technology, in order to enrich themselves and make their work easier, faster and more profitable.
The Commissioner noted that the semi-mechanised abattoir at Bariga would create about 2000 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational, adding that the aim of the partnership, was to show Lagosians the need for safe, sanitised and hygienic slaughtering of meat.
According to her, “This Public-Private Partnership (PPP), project between the Lagos State Government and a private player, Lion Unisco, has been on for the last couple of months and we are here for an actual test-run with anticipation that we should have it operational by the end of the year. This facility is also expected to generate direct and indirect employment of between 1,500 to 2,000 people.”
“In the last couple of months, the State Government had embarked on a sensitisation programme on monitoring, enforcement and compliance, to ensure that the illegal abattoirs and slaughter slabs are shut down, because this is this kind of facilities that we are trying to promote,” she said.
Olusanya said the State Government is receptive to the idea of collaborating with the private sector participants, to have facilities such as the Bariga abattoir, with a view to ensuring the proper slaughtering of meat in a hygienic and wholesome manner.
“There is another abattoir in Badagry, Trans Selectal Abattoir, coming up shortly by December also. All this goes to show that in terms of our reforms in the red meat value chain, we are very serious about changing the narrative going forward,” the Commissioner asserted.