By Cecilia Ologunagba
A cultural library to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and arts in the U.S. has opened at the Nigeria House in New York.
The Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the 12th Annual New York City Multicultural Festival.
The festival is organised annually by African Chorus Ensemble, founded by a U.S.-based Nigerian art and culture proprietress, Ms. Joyce Adewumi who is also the library’s Cultural Ambassador.
Egopija said the library was opened for people to be better informed about aspects of Nigeria’s culture such as music, dress, food, artifacts, respect and ability to co-exist in spite of the country’s multi-ethnic nature.
“The library is opened for Nigerians and other interested nationals; we want the second and third generations of American-Nigerians to come over and use the cultural artifacts in the library.
“We want them to know the historical background of Nigeria for them to appreciate their country,’’ Egopija said.
The envoy thanked the festival organisers for allowing groups from different countries and organisations to showcase their culture.
According to him, understanding culture is a basis for peaceful and harmonious existence in a given area, society and country.
Egopija said the festival was one of the tools for reducing crimes in the New York City, noting that the presence of police and their band at the festival was highly commendable.
“This shows the role of police in making sure that there is peaceful co-existence among the various groups in the city.
“This will make them understand the psyche of the people to help them in community policing.
“The festival is a laudable initiative; we are looking forward to another edition of the festival to enjoy the environment of warmth,’’ he said.
Adewumi, President and Founder of African Chorus Ensemble, said the festival had been a unifying force in the past 12 years.
She also said the festival had been a source of wealth generation for food vendors, noting that as people buy food, they contact one another for more business opportunities.
Adewumi said tourism could also generate revenue for Nigeria if funded by the government, noting that she was in partnership with the New York administration while organising the festival.
“I believe if Nigeria can focus on its arts, it is a great source of income-earning for the county. Not only that, it could be a tool of goodwill to improve the image of Nigeria.
“African-Americans and Whites hold everything about Nigeria in high esteem, so I promote it here so that they can continue to benefit and enjoy it.
“New York Multicultural Festival is something we need to do in Nigeria; it will bring us close together because there was a lot of hate crimes in New York City before.
“Different races and groups were killing one another; African- Americans against continental Africans, Dominicans against Puerto Ricans; it was getting too much and also the police were not having good relationship with the civilians,’’ she said.
The U.S.-based Nigerian said the festival had been a unifying force to bring different races, groups and culture together. (NAN)