NGO Urges FCTA To Integrate Culture Into Developmental Plans

By: Wisdom Acka & Damilola Adeleke

The Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja has called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to integrate culture of the FCT original inhabitants into developmental plans of the Territory.

Integration of their cultures would enable the original inhabitants (Ols) to participate more fully in the developmental processes as culture is a soft power asset of any developing country.

Project Manager, Helpline Foundation For the Needy Abuja, Onoja Arome, while speaking during a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, appealed to the government to make people’s culture a priority in the formulation of public policies in the FCT, considering the fact that “these people have nowhere else to call their home”.

The NGO also encourages Original Inhabitants to continue to be exertive in utilizing every means to create awareness of their cultural identity by continuously producing and using the cultural attire as a mark of their identity.

Onoja said: “As a result, the Helpline Foundation has, among other mandates, trained and empowered 300 vulnerable women and marginalized youth of the Original Inhabitants of the FCT, of which in the first and second phases of the scheme, have trained over 189 participants in our traditional skill transfer programs and are fully ready to preserve their culture through reproducing their respective cultural attires marking the identity of various tribes in FCT and making livelihood from them.

“The Foundation first of all commends efforts of UNESCO for finding relevance in cultural diversity a veritable means for sustainable development with the goals to achieve the following: Support sustainable systems of governance for culture; Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase mobility of artists and cultural professionals; Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks; and Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms.

He noted that, though belated, his foundation joined the world to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, wishing the world “a peaceful coexistence as we win together in patriotism and cooperation with one another for peace and progress, knowing that cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life”.