Federal Government has handed over payment advice worth N170m to 37 antiquities vendors, to curb illegal trafficking of artefacts.
Speaking at the Hosting of the Antiquities Vendors and the NCMM Sports Contingent to the Federal Public Service Games(FEPSGA) 2013, in Abuja, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke said the desire to check illegal trafficking of artefacts compelled the government to release the fund.
”Government is undoubtedly mindful of the values of our artefacts and has not spared any effort at ensuring that our collective patrimony and symbol of identity which is exemplified in our arts collections are adequately protected and preserved.
”There is no gainsaying therefore that the swiftness and the magnitude of the fund being released for the payment of vendors is another effort of trying to check the illegal trafficking of our artefacts.
”I enjoin all vendors and other stakeholders in the culture industry to collaborate with government in ensuring that the cultural sector enjoys its pride of place as it is been seen and done in other climes,” Duke said.
The Director General of NCMM, Ahlaji Yusuf Usman urged people to always be reminded that there is a process to be followed before money is released for any programme, adding that labeling the commission is not best option.
“There have been negative comments from different quarters as to the possibility of paying the antiquities vendors the money being owed them by the commission,” he said.