The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has described Cultural festivals as veritable platforms to promoting peace and unity, especially in a country like Nigeria which is richly diversified.
Mohammed, stated this in Jos recently during the 2016 Nzem Berom cultural festival with its theme as, “A Cultural Brand for Unity, Peace and Progress”.
Nzem Berom cultural festival which used to be an annual event was last celebrated eight years ago.
The minister who commended the state government and people of Berom for reviving the festival said it is a strong message that peace has returned to plateau state.
According to him, the festival came at a time when the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the British Council and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, are strategizing on bringing all the creative arts and the various cultural festivals across the country, with the aim of diversifying the nation’s economy away from oil through culture and tourism.
“Under the collaboration, there will be training for all festival managers and creative artists to put them in better stead to raise the profile of their festivals and arts, as well as to turn the various festivals and the creative arts into magnet for tourists and veritable sources of job creation. I do hope that festival managers and creative artists in Plateau will be among the first beneficiaries of this training,” he said.
In his remarks, former Plateau state governor cum Senator representing the Northern Senatorial zone, Jonah David Jang, employed the Berom community to work towards sustaining peace and unity for the progress of the community, state and the nation at large.
He added that, “as a people, we have gone through a lot of challenges and we must therefore use this opportunity to thank God for how far he has seen us through, and also to belief that, he is able to do much more for us than we expected of him.”
The President of the Berom Educational and Cultural Organization (BECO), Da Ericson E. Fom, while making his remarks noted that, the 2016 Nzem Berom festival is symbolic and significant to them as they have prayed and dedicated it in memory of all those who were displaced, became widows or orphans and also lost their lives during the crises period in the state.
He said as “we celebrate today in thanksgiving to Dagwi, we look up to a great future of peace, strengthening of cultural affinities with our immediate neighbours and brothers through providing efficient and effective Brotherly role, as well as improving on our well known values of hospitality and harmonious co-existence with citizens and other people living in our land.”
Fom further explained that, the reason why Nzem Berom festival was last celebrated eight years ago was because of the terrible situation that has befell the Berom community which was characterized by series of attacks, killings, destructions of properties belonging to the Berom Kinsmen in various villages across the state.
The occasion was also use to celebrate the golden jubilee (50 Years) of BECO as well as 30 years of modern day Nzem Berom.
Other activities that colored the occasion was the royal procession of the Gbong Gwon Jos (Da Jacob Gyang Buba), parades of traditional dance troupes, Toh Chin (pounding of Acha), among others.