A senior official of the Social Development Secret
ariat said that the Secretariat is aware of desperate efforts by the National Council For Arts and Culture (NCAC) to assume ownership of the crafts village, pointing out that it is not possible for the NCAC to do so because the structures on that piece of land were put by the FCT administration as a social safety net for talented young men and women to exhibit their craft skills and to showcase Nigeria’s cultural heritage to the world.
Describing the CHOGM crafts village as a historical edifice for the FCTA, the official explained that the Craft Village was built by the Nasir el-Rufai administration as part of the events marking the visit of Queen Elizabeth of England to Nigeria during the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of States held in Abuja in 2007.
His words: “How can NCAC emerge suddenly and lay claim to the crafts village? The village is owned by the FCT administration and it is being managed by the social development secretariat. As I speak to you now, we have an officer who is permanently stationed there to supervise every activity going on in the crafts village.”
Our reporter observed during a visit to the craft village that a fencing project around the village allegedly started by the NCAC was stopped by the FCT Department of Development Control (DDC).
When contacted on the matter, the Public Relations Officer of DDC, Mrs. Jose Mudashiru, said the department had not given approval for the building of a fence at the village.
Meanwhile, African Crafts and Heritage Association, an umbrella body of over 500 craftsmen working in the village has cried out to the FCT minister, Senator Bala Mohammed and the National Assembly to save them from being thrown into the unemployment market by the alleged move to take over the crafts village and demolish their shops.
The Association, said in a letter signed by its President, Muazu Yakubu Maaji, that the FCT administration brought them out from the streets and assembled them in the village to make Nigeria proud during the Queen’s visit to the country, saying it will be unfair to humiliate them now that they have developed the village to one of the best tourists destinations in the FCT and the country at large.
He said dozens of important dignitaries and visitors throng the village daily to appreciate Nigerian artifacts-Dailytrust