Minister of Information and Culture Alh. Lai Mohammed has described poverty eradication as key to attaining sustainable development, saying that it is an issue the Federal Government will remain committed to.
Mohammed made his thoughts known in Abuja at the Quarterly Public Lecture of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) with the theme ‘Implementation of Sustainable development in Nigeria: The Culture dimension’.
The minister who was represented by Mrs Memunat Idu-lah, the Deputy Director, Festival and Carnivals in the Ministry of Information and Culture said that the theme of the programme is in line with the government’s desire to reposition the economy and uplift the living standard of Nigerians through the non-oil sector.
According to him, attaining sustainable development is in line with fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to lift “100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years”.
In his remarks, Mr Louis Eriomala, the acting Executive Secretary of NICO, said that the theme of the lecture was chosen to underscore the critical relationship between culture and development.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was conceived at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012,” he said.
He added that the objective of the Rio conference was to produce a set of universal goals that would meet the urgent environmental, political, and economic challenges facing the world.
According to Erimala, Nigeria can emulate other countries such as Mali and Brazil that are mainstreaming culture into their strategies for achieving SDGs in their countries.
“Synergy and good working relationship among the relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria will go a long way in achieving the objectives of the project,” he said.
In a lecture titled, `Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria: The Culture Dimension’, Prof. Victor Dugga, the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Federal University Lafia, said that the world would be at peace if the 17 objectives of the SDGs could be achieved.
“These SDGs are not legally binding on member states that have signed up to it.
“Countries are expected to take ownership and establish national strategies for achieving the 17 goals.
“A number of UN agencies have deployed culture in their operations for more than three decades.
“The first two goals – `End Poverty In All Its Forms’ and `End Hunger’ – are very vital to the country’s development.
According to him, the SDGs agenda for 2020 has `Harnessing culture as a tool for ending poverty’ as its theme.